Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.-Martin Luther King Jr.
A 21st Century Evil.
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A new study released Thursday by the Walk Free Foundation attempts to measure modern slavery. The above infographic looks at the grim reality of modern slavery through a numerical lens.
This is really interesting. Would love to hear how this will work, exactly. Are there warnings up on the program about potential triggers for survivors or is that assumed? That line between what is education and what is exploitation of one’s experience is always really interesting! How does a play fit in when it’s an immersive experience.. when the audience is playing along?
The Date Auction will be a piece of experimental immersive theatre where audience members will experience the horrors of human trafficking and current day slavery.
Support Jada Pinkett Smith’s journey to reach 50,000 Dollars. This 50K, raised through the Chime for Change project, will be matched dollar for dollar by an anonymous funder. This will allow us to provide 13 victims of human trafficking (and their children) with 18 months of shelter while they recover and rebuild their lives.
Executive Producer Jada Pinkett Smith brings you “Rape For Profit”, a powerful documentary the Huffington Post calls, “Disturbing and Provocative”. Set against the backdrop of Seattle’s downtown city lights, “Rape For Profit” takes the audience undercover for an up-close look at the true nature of the sex trade. There is a growing problem in major U.S. cities where girls as young as 12 years old are bought and sold as many as 15 times a night to service the desires of men. Experience the shocking truth and follow several heroes as they fight this modern-day slavery and stop the next generation of buyers.
Watch the trailer here.
How many times does someone ask “what can I do?” when talking about how to fight human trafficking?
This website not only provides you with information about different countries and their respective fights against slavery, but what organizations and states have done to stop the spread of this heinous crime.
#DSBChat version 1.0 – a summary
The realities of human trafficking are horrific.
So it makes sense that much of the imagery in the movement to end human trafficking focuses on the atrocities we seek to end. But there are dangers to this approach too.
- Do images of violence sensationalize or oversimplify a crime that often involves subtler forms of coercion?
- How can we tell the stories of survivors without re-exploiting them, or dehumanizing them?
- How do we strike a balance between justified outrage and anger and a more hopeful, constructive vision of solutions?
These were just some of the topics that inspired Don’t Sell Bodies’ first twitter chat - a virtual event that we envision as a space for reflection, discussion and learning on the challenges this movement faces. (Check out #DSBChat on twitter for past and future conversations.)
Moving beyond stereotypes
We started out by asking what the movement can do to share the gravity of the issue, without resorting to stereotypes. The Irina Project – an initiative of UNC focused on responsible reporting of human trafficking – suggested there was a need for a broader range of voices – voices who are typically excluded from the conversation:
Presenting “whole people”
This was a point echoed by many participants, including Maia Sciupac – who suggested that it’s not just about including survivor voices – but presenting them as whole people:
Whole people who are much more than what has happened to them:
Responsible use of statistics?
This concept of “whole people” fed into the discussion about statistics – with some participants expressing concern that a focus on the big numbers can act to dehumanize the problem. The International Justice Mission argued, however, that it is not a question of whether or not we talk about statistics, but rather how:
The question of dignity came up often.
Survivors as experts, not stories
There was a sense among many participants that survivor voices are often only listened to on a superficial level – as a cautionary tale regarding the gravity of the human trafficking issue. Many argued, however, that the true value of survivor voices lies in concrete, actionable knowledge of how human trafficking happens and what, specifically, can be done to fight it:
While there was concern about how the term “survivor” is used as a label, Rani Hong suggested that it still has value – but that it should be used with care:
There were also questions raised about how and if differences of opinion are heard within the movement:
Minh Dang raised concerns about further segmentation and discrimination under which survivor voices even get heard – suggesting that her status as a female, educated, Asian American English-speaker has afforded a much broader platform than might be enjoyed by non-English speakers, or male victims of trafficking, for example.
The issue of language, in particular, prompted comment on some very specific need among journalists covering the issue, including foreign language skills and training on how to sensitively and effectively interview survivors:
Although there was also a sense that things may be improving on that front:
Fair treatment of survivors
Meanwhile Holly Smith raised another crucial concern about how survivors are treated within the movement – suggesting they are often under-compensated for their time, when compared to other “expert” voices:
Hope versus fear
And there was lengthy discussion about the relative values of hope versus fear – and how each might be used within a broader strategy for change:
Ideas for future discussion?
Ultimately, our first inaugural #DSBChat raised many important areas for discussion and further reflection. We will be developing these chats into an ongoing, monthly forum for debate – focusing on critical issues for the movement. Please use the comments section below, or contact us on twitter, if you have ideas for future topics – or suggestions on how best to utilize this format to the benefit of the movement. To paraphrase the words of IJM, we’re only going to win this fight together:
Stay tuned for the next installment.
“What are you worth?” poster on organ trafficking for my Intro to Illustration class
11”x17” watercolor and ink on illustration board
This piece of art really captured us with its thought-provoking title and illustration of how organ trafficking treats a human being than less than the sum of one’s parts.
Read more about organ trafficking here.