Let the Oppressed Go Free

Let the Oppressed Go Free

Isaiah 58:6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”

The Basilica of Saint Mary will exhibit the 22.5-feet long, 3.5-ton bronze sculpture Let the Oppressed Go Free on the front plaza throughout the spring of 2024. The Let the Oppressed Go Free sculpture by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz, depicts Saint Josephine Bakhita opening up the underground and releasing modern-day slaves. The powerful piece, currently on tour across the U.S., was inspired by the scripture “setting free the oppressed” in Isaiah 58:6.

The sculpture brings attention to the societal issue by depicting human trafficking slaves being released from captivity. Fifty figures representing the different faces of human trafficking including sex exploitation, forced labor, debt bondage, and more are depicted—illustrating that men, women, and children can all become victims of human trafficking, particularly those from vulnerable communities.

“It’s almost impossible with one poster, or one figure, to actually represent the scope of the problem today,” Schmalz says of human trafficking. “I decided to do a piece that had around 50 different figures, showing all the unfortunate diverse ways of human slavery today. So, in a sense, it is creating awareness.”

Crisis of Human Trafficking

Awareness and Advocacy

What Is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her will. Force, fraud, or coercion need not be present if the individual engaging in commercial sex is under 18 years of age.


Human Trafficking Hotline

Minnesota Safe Harbor