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Exposing Human Trafficking’s Lies — GIFT Box USA in Union Square

The UN GIFT Box, installed at New York City's Union Square to raise awareness of human trafficking.

The UN GIFT Box, installed at New York City's Union Square to raise awareness of human trafficking. Photo courtesy of UNICEF USA

Emily Pasnak-Lapchick is an End Trafficking Fellow in New York.

To support Human Trafficking Awareness Month, FieldNotes and the End Trafficking project are running a series of posts on child trafficking.

Get an education and a better future. We can live happily ever after. See the world and earn good money. Holiday work: meet new people and good pay.

Do any of these offers sound enticing? Thousands of people around the world are offered opportunities like these every day —only to be tricked and exploited by traffickers. Instead of glamorous jobs, they will endure a life of abuse and exploitation.

This is one big message the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons wanted to share with both native New Yorkers and tourists  — and why we brought the UN GIFT Box to the United States for the very first time.

First launched during the 2012 Olympics in London, GIFT Boxes are walk-in pieces of public art intended to raise awareness about human trafficking.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been training enthusiastic volunteers from the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, the Junior Leagues, Zonta International and many other organizations to staff the GIFT Box.

Volunteers at the UN GIFT Box, installed at New York City's Union Square to raise awareness of human trafficking.

Volunteers at the UN GIFT Box in Union Square. Photo courtesy of UNICEF USA

We are distributing information about trafficking, the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and the telltale signs that help people recognize victims.

Inside the box, visitors encounter stories of women who were trafficked for sex right here in the United States. On leaving, visitors want to know what they can do to help. We offer many options, including signing a petition. So far, volunteers have gathered over 1,000 signatures, and we’ve still got a few days to go.

The GIFT Box will be at E. 17 & Broadway in Union Square through February 2.  Stop by. Sign our petition. Discover how you can help end trafficking!

Visit www.giftboxusa.com for more information about the GIFT Box. 

Visitors inside the UN GIFT Box in Union Square, an installation that raises awareness about the problem of human trafficking.

Visitors inside the UN GIFT Box in Union Square. Photo courtesy of UNICEF USA

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