1. Whom do the Zooglio journalists hold responsible for the problems of sex trafficking, and do you agree with their logic?
2. What are some of the social, health, and legal consequences that women and children may face as a result of being forced into sex work?
3. Why are immigrant women and children more vulnerable to sex trafficking than other groups in society?
4. How might the conditions of forced sex labor compromise the ability of new immigrants to seek legal and public health assistance?
5. Why might some governments and law enforcement officials be tempted to turn a blind eye to issues of human trafficking and sex tourism?
Additional Tips for Educators: You may supplement your discussion of these questions with additional resources dedicated to raising awareness of this issue. As mentioned above, sex tourism—and the interrelated issue of human trafficking—are big business. The International Labor Organization estimates that 2-14% of the gross domestic product of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Phillipines, and Thailand derives from sex tourism. Did you know that the U.S. accounts for an estimated 25% of sexual tourists? The U.S. government is addressing the issue of human trafficking and sexual slavery across agencies and law enforcement offices. The U.S. Department of State has commissioned the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, while The ICE Homeland Security Investigations-Intelligence (HSI-Intel) office also combats human trafficking. There are also many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are dedicated to fighting human trafficking, such as humantrafficking.org and the Polaris Project.
In 2012, the federal government partnered with the private sector to develop and implement a digitized National ID system, using bioinjectable radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, called SMRTTid. While the SMRTTid created debates over privacy issues, they became an accepted part of social life by 2020. SMRTTids have become very useful in tracking the movement of persons across borders and states, and are an increasingly important social surveillance technology. To thwart the interventions of law enforcement, human traffickers often dechip their victims. These strategies have made it that much harder for the authorities to locate and help victims of trafficking.
Now that you know the gravity of this problem, help us increase awareness about this human rights issue. Often times, women and children are deceived into sex slavery by misleading ads or promises of a better life elsewhere. Traffickers prey upon the desire for better opportunities to target and recruit their victims through these misleading announcements. Your task will be to humanize the suffering of these women and children.
Take a photo of a smiling or laughing young woman or child that you know, such as a family member or a friend. (Please get consent from this person prior to using their image in the project, and tell them how their photo will be used to raise public awareness of a human rights issue. It is important that you do not include any images that you do not have consent to use.) Remember that sex trafficking affects women and children around the world regardless of income, race or religion, so do not feel you have to look for any particular appearance. The point is to show how anyone may become a victim of sex traffickers.
Include a “When I grow up…” caption with the photo—one that offers a viewer a glimpse of the story of a person forced into sex work. Draw upon some of the ideas generated by the discussion questions. Remember to keep it short; a caption works best when it’s brief.
E.g. “When I grow up, I will be forced to work in a brothel serving nearly a dozen tourists every day. I will be told that this will help my future and my family, but I will never see my family again.”
Add the caption to the photo. The caption can be written onto the photo with Photoshop, or you can print the photo, write the caption onto the photo itself, and then scan and save as a JPEG file. Remember that the image and the text are intended to work together; try to achieve a balance between the size of the text and the image; This assignment can be completed using digital images or printed photos. This activity generally requires an hour for completion.
• Photo of a friend or family member
• Digital camera
• Writing implements such as pencils, pens, markers, pastels
With these photos, you are now in a position to draw attention to the issue of human trafficking and forced sex labor. Print the photos with the captions and share them with friends and family. You may now lead your own conversation with people that you know and generate increased awareness and sympathy toward survivors of human trafficking. Ask friends and family how it makes them feel to see someone they know depicted as a victim of this kind of abuse. Consider recording some of these conversations and uploading them as wav. or mp3 files to accompany your text.
Don’t let your message be limited by geography; upload your image to the America2049 Facebook page! And don’t forget to post on your own Facebook wall, as well as to your online photo galleries, like photobucket and Flickr. To reach a broader audience; email, text, and Tweet your people and let them know about where they can see your work. Tell them that you are creating art to combat human trafficking.
Finally, consider turning this into a broader collaborative effort. Talk to your classmates and colleagues about creating a collective exhibit of all the captioned photos you have created with other students and sharing it in a classroom or community center.