Hestia Lights Up Piccadilly in Fight Against Modern Slavery

Wunderman Thompson has partnered with the charity to produce 'Art is Freedom' - an exhibition challenging perceptions and spotlighting the hidden crime of modern slavery

By creative salon

Modern slavery is a grim reality for around 122,000 people in the UK, often hidden from public view. Hestia, a key player in supporting survivors, is working to dispel myths around this issue with its annual exhibition, 'Art is Freedom,' urging the British public to realise that modern slavery is pervasive and anyone can fall victim.

Hestia, a provider of modern slavery support in London and the South-east, assisted over 2,400 survivors in 2022. With more than a decade of experience, the charity provides support in safe houses and communities.

Wunderman Thompson UK supported the charity with a Piccadilly Lights takeover on 18 October (Anti-Slavery Day), promoting Hestia’s Trafalgar Square exhibition delivered in partnership with Westminster City Council, with ad-space donated by Landsec. The film states ‘The art is free, and now so are the artists’, and showcases the work of survivors who are often unseen on the largest out-of-home site in Europe.

Patrick Ryan, Chief Executive at Hestia, commented: “Most of us cannot quite comprehend that slavery still happens in London and the UK in 2023. We hope that seeing Art is Freedom up on the iconic Piccadilly lights raises awareness of this brutal and often unpunished crime while also celebrating the talents, resilience, and hope of survivors. We are hugely grateful to Wunderman Thompson, Westminster City Council and Landsec for helping us make this a reality.”

Mike Watson, Creative Director at Wunderman Thompson UK, added: “We’re happy to have played an incredibly small part in helping Hestia express the stories and identities of those who have escaped modern slavery on one of the most viewed digital canvases in London.”

Cllr Aicha Less, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities, Public Protection and Licensing said: “We are so proud to continue our support for Hestia and showcase the incredible artwork around Westminster. Locations like Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square give the artists a chance to share their story with the biggest possible audience. We hope this will raise awareness of modern slavery in the UK and change the perception of how it can happen in 2023.”

This is not the first time that Wunderman Thompson has partnered with the charity. They previously worked with Hestia through HSBC’s 'Safe Spaces' campaign, and fundraised for them through the agency’s women's network Rise. People can visit the ‘Art is Freedom’ exhibition until 20 October and can find out more about the exhibition here.


Wunderman Thompson

Business Director: Laura Kelly

Strategy Director: Jonny Park

Executive Creative Director: Tom Drew

Creative Director: Mike Watson

Senior Designer: Ben Clarke

Senior Designer: Yoshi Okubo

Senior Creative Producer: Tom Lawrence

Creative Services Director: Maxene Edghill


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