“#ChokeTheDemand”, a city-wide project against commercial sexual exploitation of children driven by a widespread demand for them in the sex industry, highlights the glaring issue through a creative blend of wall art and technology.Also Read - Human Trafficking Cases in Children, Adults May Increase Post COVID-19 Lockdown, Fear NGOs
Life-sized murals, on the commercial sexual exploitation of children, in three locations — Connaught Place, Malviya Nagar metro station, and Vasant Kunj — are a joint initiative of petition platform Change.org and The Missing Public Art Project. Also Read - Anonymous Hacktivists Return After George Floyd Murder, 'Expose' Files on Donald Trump's Child Trafficking-Princess Diana's Alleged Killing
Painted by artists Leena Kejriwal and Amogh Lux in the form of provocative comic strips on patriarchal comments that encourage sexual violence against girls, the massive murals loom above passers-by and trigger dialogues about trafficking children as young as nine or ten years of age. Also Read - Jharkhand Baby Selling Racket: Police Rescues Fourth Infant From Missionaries of Charity's Shelter Home Staff
“Trafficking is demand driven. The demand being created by the public leads to the supply of girls. To rock this boat, it is very important to create awareness on their role,” said Kejriwal, who founded the Missing Public Art Project in 2014 to spark conversations on sex trafficking of young girls.
In their previous projects, the “Missing” team painted black silhouettes of a young girl on public walls to symbolise the girls missing due to trafficking.
What fuels the demand-and-supply cycle of sexual exploitation of children is the easy availability of at-risk children who are trafficked to feed the demands of exploiters guised as “customers”.
The interactive murals aim to “shake status quo on trafficking for sex and begin conversations on demand for minor girls in the commercial sex industry” and nip the demand right in the bud.
Acting as an interesting visual peg for conversations, the murals claim the urban public space, as a Facebook chatbot spurs conversations online.
“The ‘Missing’ team has designed an interactive user interface that anyone can scan and have a conversation with, through the Facebook chatbot,” the Project said in a statement.
Change.org said: “This art-tech synergy is a great place to start a conversation on this issue, and we hope that our message on choking the demand (for children) is taken forward through this artwork on Delhi’s streets.”
With Delhi as its second stop, the “Missing” mural walk was rolled out in Kolkata in 2017 as “Hunt for the Lost Durga”.