Thanks to Patrick Compton for a great article in The Mercury, and to all those who are responding so positively.

Thanks to Patrick Compton for a great article in The Mercury, and to all those who are responding so positively.

Art to fight human trafficking scourge - Patrick Compton

Human trafficking, one of the scourges of the modern world, is the focus of the latest campaign of the socially conscious Durban art group, everyONEcounts.

In its last campaign, everyONEcounts - founded by local artist Lara Mellon - raised nearly R300 000 for Shepherd's Keep, the home for abandoned babies on the Bluff in Durban.

An online exhibition of artworks, which is currently being assembled, will culminate in a real exhibition on Human Rights Day (March 21) next year.

The organisation was alerted to its new cause earlier this year after two girls disappeared from their homes in Durban.  It subsequently met with a number of organisations involved in the fight against human trafficking.

Following these meetings, everyONEcounts decided to help two of the groups, Red Light, based at The Rock Christian Church in uMhlanga, and The Open Door Crisis Care Centre, a counselling, training and advisory centre with headquarters in Pinetown and branches in Hammarsdale and Maraiannridge.

The centre works closely with Red Light, whose objectives are to create social awareness of the prevalence of human trafficking in our communities.

"Most of the girls are on drugs," said Open Door director Thora Mansfield, "which is the only way that they can deal with the daily trauma of their lives.  The centre assists them with psychological counselling and developing post-rehabilitation life skills.

"We are passionate about the psychological side - everyone really does count.  If we can make a difference in just one girl's life and equip her to move from victim to victorious then we have fulfilled our vision."

Human trafficking occurs mostly to support sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, forced marriage and the sale of organs or body parts.  The more vulnerable a group, the more susceptible they will be to being manipulated and becoming victims of trafficking. 

Mellon said that everyONEcounts hoped to use art as a means of awareness so that "our artworks will speak in solidarity for a humanity that should be good and pure, honourable and noble, hopeful and beautiful".

There are no restrictions on theme, but artists are asked to keep the size of their unframed, unmounted works to 30cm x 20cm.

Works can be in oil, acrylic or fabric painted, embroidered, appliqued, stitched, beaded or printed (including photographs) on canvas, calico, cotton, sheeting or the like.

Artists are asked to submit their work as soon as possible to be loaded on to the website and made available for sale.  Artworks will be sold for R400 each.

Post artworks to Privat Bag X02, Durban North 4016  For more information, email Angela McCall at