Unique art exhibit raises awareness for child sex trafficking

Posted: Updated:
By Lindsay Robinson By Lindsay Robinson
By Lindsay Robinson By Lindsay Robinson
By Lindsay Robinson By Lindsay Robinson
By Lindsay Robinson By Lindsay Robinson
By Lindsay Robinson By Lindsay Robinson

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- With the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl attracting plenty of crowds, some Valley activists are using the festivities to attract attention to an important issue: child sex trafficking.

The Scarlet Cord is an art exhibit dedicated to raising awareness about the struggle and healing process of child sex workers everywhere. The exhibit will be displayed in the Roosevelt Row Art District on the corner of 1st Street and Roosevelt Street from now until Feb 1., and is free to the public.

The unique art exhibit is housed in a 40-foot storage container. Here visitors encounter 30 weathered doors and portraits bound by a twisted scarlet cord to depict the trauma bond that connects abused children to their traffickers.

Artist Pamela Alderman's motivation for The Scarlet Cord exhibit was to inspire healing for sex trafficked children and those who have been negatively impacted by the sex industry around the world.

"I am an artist, and my work is about hope and healing," Alderman said. "It’s a difficult step to understand that these children don’t volunteer to be sex trafficked. They are forced and manipulated."

Representatives from around the Valley are attending the grand opening ceremony, where Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and City of Phoenix Vice Mayor Jim Waring will cut a scarlet cord to officially open The Scarlet Cord exhibit.

StreetLightUSA is a local non-profit and the largest residential center in the country focused on the care and healing of child victims of sex trafficking. The organization is responsible for bringing this moving exhibit to the Valley.

“This is a beautiful exhibit that depicts the girls’ healing process,” president and CEO of StreetLightUSA Lea Benson said. “It is our hope that this exhibit will demonstrate to people how much help the girls really need in their healing process.”

The average age of victims entering the sex trade is 13 years old. StreetLightUSA has served more than 500 girls since it opened in 2011, providing girls with skills and experiences that will help them become strong, independent women who will live a life free of exploitation. StreetLightUSA is accepting donations to help fund the art therapy center on its Valley-based campus.

The Scarlet Cord art exhibit is open to the public for free. Donations are welcome.

The Scarlet Cord
Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Daily
1st Street and Roosevelt
Jan. 23 - Feb. 1