About the Sculpture
Let the Oppressed Go Free is a bronze sculpture created by world-renowned artist, Timothy Schmalz, that depicts human trafficking slaves being released from captivity in order to bring attention to this societal issue. The sculpture contains 50 figures representing the different faces of human trafficking including sex exploitation, forced labor, debt bondage and more. Men, women, and children can become victims of human trafficking, particularly those from vulnerable communities.
The artist found inspiration from Isaiah 58:6 where scripture talks about ‘setting free the oppressed’. The sculpture depicts Saint Josephine Bakhita opening up the underground and releasing modern-day slaves. It purposefully includes figures that span history to demonstrate that human trafficking has been a societal issue for generations. The artwork also showcases males and females, many races and all ages. It includes symbols as well as coins to represent the connection between human trafficking and money.
Schmalz commented, “Awareness is the first weapon to fight human trafficking.” He has stated that people suffering are hidden in our society and his intention is to bring awareness to the this tradegy that exists in every country across the world. “This sculpture is going to be an inconvenience,” Schmalz declared. “Human trafficking is a problem in our society that is often invisible.”