Tattoos of Freedom

Whenever we think of those who have been tattooed without their consent, most people probably think about World War 2 victims or children in news stories. As much as it’s uncomfortable to think about, there are others who are also tattooed against their will, who have survived (or are barely surviving) human trafficking. It’s almost insane to even think about, but there are still people in this day and age who are branded like animals, to show ‘belonging’ to other people. The Guardian has published a new story about this, focusing on those who have come out of the other end of such an ordeal, and they are now covering up those tattoos. From the article:

The tattoo on her neck was not the only scar that Jennifer carried from this period in her life. Men had also tattooed their names on her arm and her back. Just above her groin another announced that she was “Property of Salem”, marking her as his possession and money-maker.

…We’re here today at the tattoo shop because six months ago Jennifer decided to try to help other women in Columbus still marked by trafficking brands. So she launched Survivors Ink, a grassroots project that runs a tattoo scholarship programme in which women who have lived through human trafficking, and have been clean and in recovery for more than six months, can apply to get their tattoos covered up. So far she’s given out seven scholarships, raising the money through local fundraisers at churches, universities and community events.

Survivors Ink sounds like a really fantastic program, and it’s amazing to see someone not only survive this, but help other people afterwards. There are plenty of people out there who don’t like one of their old tattoos, and would like them covered up, but I think it’s a completely different ball game when your unwanted tattoos have been given to you by some monster who never asked if you wanted it. It’s disgusting to know that these people can take tattooing and use it in this way, but it’s also great to see these people getting their tattoos covered up and feeling like they can face the world now that they’re not a part of trafficking anymore. I’d encourage you to read this article, if anything for a new insight into a world a lot of us never thought about before. Click here to read the whole thing.

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