human trafficking competition


Submission: May 15, 2017
Registration: March 18, 2017
Language: English
Location: Tenancingo, Mexico
Prizes: Winner: $5000, x3 Runners Up: $1000, x10 Honourable Mentions
Type: Open


Invisible and incomprehensible to most, the issues of modern day slavery are real and widespread. The Polaris Project, a leading organization in the battle against human trafficking, reports nearly 20.9 million victims worldwide fueling an obscene, yet lucrative, multi-billion dollar industry.Obraz w treści 1

​Encompassing both labor and sex, human trafficking denies basic freedoms and degrades life to mere commodification. Traffickers prey on vulnerable populations, employing a multitude of sophisticated strategies to lure or coerce individuals into lives of forced service. An eradication of trafficking demands stringent and absolute global enforcement of human rights. A solution further entails concentrated effort to reform areas where illicit behaviors have become normalized. In source communities, such as Tenancingo Municipality, Mexico, human trafficking has become industry, sustaining both the wealth of its citizens and international networks of illegal human exchange. Positioning itself in such a context, arch out loud seeks to investigate architecture’s capacity to challenge entrenched exploitation.


Teams may be formed by one (1) individual or up to four (4) members. Team members can come from different countries and universities. Additionally, interdisciplinary teams are allowed, although it is recommended that at least one member have an architectural background.
Under no circumstances will members of the jury, members of the organization or persons with a direct personal or professional relationship with members of the jury be allowed to participate in this competition.


arch out loud challenges designers to reimagine the town square of Tenancingo, Mexico in response to the prevalent issues of sex trafficking existing in the area. Designers should explore the catalytic potentials of architectural intervention, inciting positive change through the introduction of a transformative mediascape. The proposed conversion should aim to both educate and empower, reforming entrenched behavior. How might a modified square reshape communal mindset and motivation, reconstituting the image of a town where exploitation has become normalized?

Located at Tenancingo’s highest and most central point, the proposed competition site lies adjacent to the church (Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel) and local government office. A prominent intersection within the community, the existing square accommodates a number of temporary programs and events, serving as both a public plaza and marketplace. Relationships within this common area, both tangible and intangible, infer the normalized interactions of the town. The site also hosts the annual carnival, briefly exposing an extensive and sophisticated network of traffickers. The proposed mediascape is intended to be accessible and highly visible, maximizing the site’s ability to enable positive change.


FEB 20TH, 2016       Advance registration opens
MAR 18TH, 2016      Advanced registration closes
MAR 19TH, 2016      Early registration opens
APR 17TH, 2017        Early registration closes
​APR 18TH, 2017       Regular registration opens
MAY 14TH, 2017       Registration deadline

MAY 15TH, 2017        Submission deadline
JUN 5TH, 2017          Winners Announced