Travelling exhibition made in Lancashire turns spotlight on scandal of modern slavery

A pop-up walk in exhibition created in Lancashire now has a dual use – educating people about the plight of refugees and about the scandal of modern slavery.

Joe Howson (pictured right)  and volunteer Shelagh Richardson promoting the Lee House exhibition
Joe Howson (pictured right) and volunteer Shelagh Richardson promoting the Lee House exhibition

Initially the Lee House Centre for Mission Awareness, based at Thornley, near Longridge, created a pop-up exhibition to raise awareness of refugees.

The innovative exhibition took the visitor through a series of mini rooms. The rooms comprised different locations on a refugees' troubled Journey to Sanctuary.

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But when it was designed and built the intention was to make it multi purpose,

Welcoming visitors to the mobile display

After launching theJourneyTo Sanctuary installation the next challenge was to adapt the space so it could tell the story of three people forced into modern day slavery.

Joe Howson, Director of the Lee House Centre, said: “When we created it originally we always had in mind that it could also encompass the JourneyTo Freedom of three people forced into modern day slavery. The priority at the time was to get the refugee exhibition up and running. There was a lot of work involved in creating it.”

Adapting the installation, which is lightweight but strong and secure and easily erected, meant creating a new narrative and soundtrack.

Joe said: “They are true life stories based on actual case studies of real people.”

The three cases comprise a young woman from Nigeria forced into domestic servitude, a young woman from eastern Europe forced into sexual exploitation and a young man from the UK forced into enforced labour.

Joe said: “We created the narrative based on those stories but spoken through the voice of actors.”

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Those visiting the exhibition walk through a series of rooms typical of a contemporary English home. Joe said: “The idea there is that it's happening under our noses. It is happening all around us but we're not aware of it.

He added:”Ultimately all three were released from these situations by the police because of people saying we think there's something going on.”

The exhibition concludes by urging the public to similarly speak up if they see anything causing such concerns .

The exhibition has toured public locations including Preston market and Blackburn bus station, city centres and secondary schools to raise awareness of modern slavery.

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For more information contact [email protected]