SEEN Art Collection


Art Collection by Janie Edwards

**November 25th is International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women and the launch of 16 days of activism that will conclude on December 10th, International Human Rights Day. Every day, 10% of product sales on Janie Edwards & Co go to charities. But from November 25th through December 10th, 20% will be donated plus you get 10% off on any of the art from the Seen Collection and free shipping. See Discount/charity codes under products.

When I started working on this collection, it kind of just happened, for a lack of better words.  I didn’t quite understand the “why” but I let my hands do the work of what I felt led to do. After getting a few of the art pieces done, I knew there was more to them than the artwork itself but it took several months for me to see the depth of them.  

Human Trafficking

You’ll notice some of the body parts, hair, and clothing disappear into the background.  Are we actually seeing people?  The people we come across?  The people we interact with? The people we read about? Or are we just merely looking? Are they disappearing from our minds? Are they on our heart but we move on anyway?  Sometimes we do not want to see because it can take a toll on our heart, mind, emotions, time, finances, and comfort zone.

You’ll notice each image has plants in the foreground.  People may be hiding or disappearing but there is hope. In Isaiah 61, the Lord speaks of the poor, brokenhearted, captives, and prisoners and that he was sent to bring good news, bind up, free, and release these people.  He says they will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Human Trafficking is the fastest growing global crime affecting every continent and economic structure in the world, and can happen in many forms.  It is happening in industries that we interact with on a daily basis. [resource: A21]

These are a few stories/scenarios of modern day slaves.  Some are free and some are still in captivity. Some of them live far away (yet you receive products from them in the retail & grocery stores you shop), and some of them may live in the same city as you.

As A21 Founder Christine Caine says, “Often, I think, because we think, ‘I can't do it all,’ we end up being paralyzed. So we do nothing.  But if we understand we can't do everything but we all must do something, and we all find the one thing that we can do, then we'll find that together we will all make such a huge difference and we'll be able to put a stop to this.”


TITLE: Berenice
Mixed Media (watercolor, pencil, graphite, colored pencils, photoshop)
Archival Print On Deep Matte Paper
Print sizes 8x10 to 20x24 available

Connection between Sex Trafficking & Foster Care

I am a fifteen year old girl. I was born into a world of drugs and neglect. Before I was five years old, I had been removed from my home several times for my own safety but was continually returned to my mother. By the time I was 10 years old, I had been sexually abused by two different perpetrators -- while in my mother’s care. I was filled with shame and depression and tried to commit suicide. That’s when I was able to get help from an organization and get into a foster home. For different reasons, I was bounced around from home to home. Some were good and some were very broken and I considered running away but finally found my forever family who adopted me. I’m really grateful for this because I could have been trafficked like other kids I knew. Foster care children are targeted by traffickers because of our need for love, affirmation, and protection. When you long for a family…even if it means being subjected to extreme violence and abuse, you still seek it. Some kids in the foster system go to group homes because there are not enough certified foster families and they’re recruited there by other victims. Last year in Colorado, there were 5,000 children in out-of-home-placements, but just 2,000 certified foster families. I am grateful there was an organization and a family willing to step up and I hope more people will join them. I am finally doing well in school, getting a chance to be a kid for the first time, and am on the road to healing.

(referenced a story from Realities From Children and statistics from Colorado Department of Human Services. Names, identifying information, and case details may have been changed to respect confidentiality and protection.)

Beauty-B&W pencil-with-Lavender watercolor3-CMYK.jpg

TITLE: Athalia
Mixed Media (watercolor, pencil, graphite, photoshop)
Archival Print On Deep Matte Paper
Print sizes 8x10 to 20x24 available

Connection between Forced Labor & Garment Industry/Fast Fashion

I was a slave to fashion. Literally. I was enslaved to my work to make clothes like you are probably wearing at this very moment.

Just nine years ago, I was freed. Police raided a clandestine factory in Mexico City that was producing clothespins and handbags for a company whose identity has still never been revealed. The authorities freed 107 enslaved workers, ranging in age from teenagers to seniors, from a sweatshop disguised as a drug rehabilitation center. We had been tricked into entering the facility, having been promised free drug and alcohol treatment.

Slaves to fashion, we endured 16 hour shifts with just one thirty-minute break and we weren’t allowed to use the bathroom. We were fed just enough rotten vegetables and chicken legs once a day in order to keep us alive. We were regularly beaten and sexually assaulted. None of us were ever paid. When discovered, many of us were malnourished – some had broken bones.

I received help and now speak out about trafficking and the demand of fast fashion. This story is not as unique as one may think. And it has and continues to happen even on a much grander scale, in factories featuring several hundred workers enduring the same conditions and treatment for little or no pay, making clothes for your favorite stores and brands, keeping up with rapid changing trends, and paying the cost to give you “good deals”.

(referenced a true story from CNN News from December 2009)


TITLE: Joanna
Mixed Media (watercolor, pencil, graphite, colored pencils, magazine cut-out, photoshop)
Archival Print On Deep Matte Paper
Print sizes 8x10 to 20x24 available

Child Sexual Exploitation

I was 15 years old when I first met my trafficker. I was a typical 15 year old who lived at home and attended high school. I was online using social media when a cute guy contacted me. I was excited because he was a bit older in his early twenties and was interested in me. He told me how beautiful I was and how lucky he was to have met me. I used to study with my friends before, but that seemed boring compared to hanging out with him. After “dating” for a short time, he asked to send some explicit pictures of myself. I was a bit hesitant, but he told me how much he loved me, that any girl his age would do it, and that if he couldn’t be with me he could look at my picture. He wanted to be with me all the time. He bought me new clothes and told me to wear some more make up. This wasn’t my normal style, but I wanted to look pretty the way that he wanted me to. After a month of dating, lavishing me with attention and making me feel like the most important person in his world, he said that he wanted to keep buying me nice clothes and treating me well, but that I needed to help out. He asked me to have sex with a man for money. He told me that it would be just once and that it would be fun. He begged me and I just wanted to make him happy. He gave me a drug that made the whole experience foggy. I didn’t want to do it, but I wanted to make him happy and figured it was just once. But then he kept telling me I had to do it. He took me to a place to get a tattoo. I didn’t want to at first, but he said it was because he was proud that I “was his” and wanted everyone to know I belonged to him. He said if I loved him I would do it. I just wanted to show him how much I loved him. I got mad at him once, but then he put his hands on me and got really scary. He told me that I belonged to him. This became a cycle. He would be physical with me one minute and tell me he loved me the next. I was so confused – he was so different now. I wanted to get out, but didn’t know how, and now I needed that drug he kept giving me, or everything would hurt.

(referenced a story from A21. Names, identifying information, and case details may have been changed to respect confidentiality and protection.)


TITLE: Zipporah
Mixed Media (watercolor, pencil, graphite, colored pencils, magazine cut-out, photoshop)
Archival Print On Deep Matte Paper
Print sizes 8x10 to 20x24 available

Domestic Servitude

I was born and raised in a small village in Ghana, and my family was struggling to pay the school fees for my my education. One day, my parents were approached by a man who had allegedly secured jobs and education for other similarly situated families, in the United States. He promised that with payment from my parents, he could do the same for us. My parents welcomed the opportunity for me to receive an education in the United States.

After paying the recruiters, travel arrangements were made for me to go to the U.S. Upon arrival, my traffickers took my passport, and I discovered I had been deceived. Shortly after I arrived in the U.S., the father I was living with began to physically and sexually abuse me, creating a constant environment of fear. For the next six years I was forced to clean the house, wash clothes, cook, and care for their three children, often working 18 hours a day while receiving no form of payment. I was never allowed to enroll in school as the family had promised, go outside, or even use the phone. One day, after I was severely beaten, I saw an opportunity to run away from the home and a neighbor called the police. I was then taken to a local hospital for medical care. The nurse assisting me was aware of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and referred me to an organization to help.

They immediately coordinated emergency services including clothing, a safe shelter, counseling, emotional support, and case management. I am now one of the many examples of the resilience and courage of survivors who have redefined their future and are working towards achieving their long-term goals.

(referenced a story from National Human Trafficking Resource and Polaris. Names, identifying information, and case details may have been changed to respect confidentiality and protection.)


TITLE: Drusilla
Mixed Media (watercolor, pencil, graphite, textured paper, photoshop)
Archival Print On Deep Matte Paper
Print sizes 8x10 to 20x24 available

Bonded Labor

I, along with my brother, were trafficked from a rural town south of the border to the United States to work in the agricultural industry. While we were somewhat impoverished, we lived happily with our caring parents. Although our family was content, my parents have always dreamed of a life with more and better opportunities for the future of their children. One day, my parents were approached by a man who had allegedly secured jobs and education for other similarly situated families, in the United States. He promised that with payment from my parents, he could do the same for us. After paying the recruiters, my brother and I crossed the border from Mexico into the United States and then traveled by bus to a farm. Upon arrival, we discovered that we had been deceived. The foreman at the farm forces us to work long hours picking fruit. Because of our small fingers, we along with smaller framed women are seen as being able to quickly pick some of the smaller fruits. We are not permitted to continue our education as promised, and they told us we have to continue working for them to pay back debts for them taking care of us. We work long hours, with little breaks, and are subjected to horrible living conditions, as well as sexually exploited.

(referenced a story from A21. Names, identifying information, and case details may have been changed to respect confidentiality and protection.)



Signs to look for (victim)

I may be your friend, schoolmate, co-worker, or neighbor.  I may live in your city, see you at the grocery store, or on the street.  My hope is that you don’t merely look at me but see me and lead me to help, even if I don’t know I need it.

  • Significant change in demeanor.  Once outgoing and now appears unhappy, disconnected, and/or does not smile often.

  • Starts to isolate her/himself from friends and community

  • Has a new appearance that does not fit the current situation (new look/clothes/hair/nails)

  • Change in clothing style or appearance either in person or postings online

  • Lies about age/identity

  • Presence of an overly controlling “boyfriend” or an older female.  Control may be in a subtle manner with a look of the eyes or a touch of the hand

  • Facial expression and body language display fear and anxiety

  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid

  • Appears to be under influence of drugs or alcohol

  • Displays signs of physical or sexual violence, visable scars or bruises

  • Tattoos, brands, or other marks indicating “ownership” by the perpetrator

  • Not free to leave or come and go as she/he likes

  • Escorted whenever they go to and return from work

  • Permits others to speak for them when asked a question

  • Runaway youth

  • Works excessively longs hours

  • Is unpaid or underpaid

  • Travel in groups with persons who are not relatives

  • Depend on their employer for a number of services, including work, transportation, and accommodation

  • Never or rarely goes to social outings

  • Disciplined through punishment

  • Sleeps in an inappropriate space

  • Not in control of his/her own identification documents (such as ID/passport)

  • References travel to other cities or states or is not from the current location, may lack knowledge of travel plans, destination or even their current location

A federal law codified in relevant part in 18 U.S.C. § 1591.
While no single indicator confirms the existence of trafficking, several indicators combined can increase the likelihood that an individual is being exploited or is actively being targeted and recruited.

The indicators listed here are not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators.  Signs may vary based on type of trafficking.

Signs to look for (perpetrator)

Exploitative people, including traffickers, use psychological manipulation as the primary means of control. They come into the lives of vulnerable individuals (especially children and youth) online through social media, in-person at places like school and the mall, through the established relationships that youth have in their families and communities, recruiting through developing countries, and more.

Exploiters get to know an individual’s vulnerabilities in order to become the person that the individual desires to have in their life. Once trust is gained, exploitation begins.

Five "disguises" that a person looking to exploit someone may take on to gain trust.

1 - Pretender -- Someone who pretends to be something she/he is not, such as a boyfriend, a big sister, a father, etc.

2 - Provider -- Someone who offers to take care of an individual's needs, such as for clothes, food, a place to live, etc or their wants, like cool cell phones, purses, parties, etc.

3 - Promiser -- Someone who promises access to great things, like an amazing job, a glamorous lifestyle, travel, etc.

4 - Protector -- Someone who uses physical power or intimidation to protect (but also control) an individual.

5 - Punisher -- Someone who uses violence and threats to control an individual. When the previous disguises have been exhausted, an exploitative person often becomes a Punisher to maintain control.

Referenced from iEmpathise - Empower Youth


Educate Yourself

Learn the indicators of human trafficking so you can help identify a potential trafficking victim. Human trafficking awareness training is available for individuals, businesses, first responders, law enforcement, educators, and federal employees, among others.  If you are in the United States and believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, report your suspicions to law enforcement by calling 911 or the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline line at 1-888-373-7888.  Trafficking victims, including undocumented individuals, are eligible for services and immigration assistance.

Invest in people.

Ultimately, intervening in human trafficking is about more than operating programs and building shelters. It’s about building up people, especially those living in vulnerable situations. When we help members of our community to have a strong sense of worth, healthy relationships, and access to education, employment, and stable housing, we’re helping to fight human trafficking.

Maybe it is simply being a good neighbour. Maybe it’s being a mentor to the teen girl at church struggling with self-esteem, or creating a safe space for the boy down the street whose parents are addicted to drugs. Maybe it’s welcoming the new immigrant family in the neighbourhood into your home and supporting them in their job search. Maybe it’s forming relationships with people living at a local homelessness shelter.  Maybe it’s becoming a foster parent, providing respite care, or supporting the foster families in your community.

Make informed purchasing decisions.  Is that “good deal” really worth it?

As comfortable as it is to grasp onto the cultural scripts that tell us we’re not part of the problem unless we directly contribute to it, our consumption habits would say otherwise. The unfortunate truth is that the coffee we drink and the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the electronics we use may be tainted by slave labour.

Think before you buy…especially when it comes to clothing.  Buying fair trade products and supporting ethical companies is one of the best ways you can fight human trafficking in your daily life.  Use resources and apps such as The Good Trade, Buycott, Better World Shopper, Good On You, or do your own research to guide you in shopping more ethically.

Ask for help.

Directly buying sexual services from a person in prostitution isn’t the only way to fuel human trafficking. Sadly, there is a strong interconnectedness between pornography and sexual exploitation: how pornography is frequently made of people while they’re in prostitution, how traffickers use popular trends in porn to inform the activities they force victims to engage in, how exposure to porn can normalize violence and make us less compassionate towards victims of sexual exploitation. If you or anyone you know is struggling with an addiction to pornography, it’s okay to ask for help. 

Buy products that support survivors.

You can contribute to the restoration process by buying survivor-made products.  Educate yourself on ways to find social enterprises that employ survivors, giving them a viable and sustainable income stream.

Demand corporate accountability.

Many well-known, big companies (probably brands and stores you shop at regularly) are notorious for unethical practices, including the use of slave labour. But with the amount of published research and the availability of software programs and comprehensive audits, companies are running out of excuses for being ignorant or relying on slave labour.

Refusing to buy from companies like these is a good start, but consider taking your advocacy even further. Lobby global brands to be more transparent, eliminate exploitation from their supply chains, and improve working conditions. Call on corporations to stop spreading and normalizing sexual exploitation. Ask local businesses to use or sell fair trade products. Write to your political representative to put corporate social responsibility on their agenda.

Give, fundraise, volunteer, and/or raise awareness

Financially supporting high-quality anti-trafficking organizations may not feel exciting, but it is one of the most impactful ways you can help. Donating undesignated funds—especially on a regular basis—gives a non-profit the autonomy to decide how to best support survivors or prevent human trafficking, whether that may be hiring a local trauma counsellor or starting a skills training program.

Get involved with organizations and advocates in your community.  The United States alone has several anti-slavery and anti-trafficking organizations, which combat both sex slavery and forced labor. Some major organizations include Abolish Human Trafficking, A21, Run 2 Rescue, Polaris, Not For Sale, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, National Womens Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Durga Tree International, The Samaritan Woman. Find others through this directory from Freedom4Innocence.

Browse these websites and learn more about each organization's projects, the types of trafficking they combat, read up on their statistics, check out any upcoming events,and discover ways to get involved.

Perhaps you feel like, “what difference can lil’ ol’ me really make?”  As my daughter said one day, “If we all just did ONE thing every day to make things better, the world could look so different.”  Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can, and start living intentionally.

We can all participate in creating healthy, resilient, and compassionate communities as the foundation for ending human trafficking. How will you contribute?

CALL tel: 1-888-373-7888

CALL tel: 800.656.HOPE (4673)