Blog Post by Max Cohen

I found Sarah Mckinnon’s paper to be very interesting and engaging, though I my biggest complaints came from the moments she stopped reading to address the audience. One point that I found interesting was the recurring argument of men’s rights over women. This seemed to be a theme throughout the paper, mainly in talking about how Chinese men would apply for asylum in their wives’ names.

Another theme of the paper I found interesting was that of immigration. Many people today think of immigration as being almost solely contained to the southern border. However, as Mckinnon pointed out, this was and is not always the case. The United States has always had a sizeable population of Immigrants from Asia, and especially from China. In fact, immigration from China was once such a hot button issue that the United States passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, and even today many asylum seekers from China are regarded with suspicion. This also highlights another misconception of immigration and minorities in general that many people have. This is the misconception that discrimination against Asians and Asian-Americans is either non-existent or severely limited in its scope. The common perception is that all or a majority of discrimination is aimed at blacks, arabs and latinos. However, Mckinnon repeatedly shows not only modern day examples of discrimination against the Chinese but also discusses older forms of discrimination such as the aforementioned Chinese Exclusion Act.

An interesting question of Mckinnon’s paper was that of the influence that women or a lack thereof has on a society’s culture and the way that other’s view that society. Mckinnon talks about the lack of women in early Chinese-American society and the way that it changed not only the Chinese society but also the way that Americans viewed the Chinese immigrants

Human Trafficking can Affect Anyone by Jeremy Miller

When many people think of trafficking, the only thing that comes to their mind is the sexual exploitation of young women. While this is one form of human trafficking, it is far from the only form that is seen in the world. The graphic journal Borderlands, by Dan Archer, shows many different ways that humans are sold, and that it is very typically for labor as well. It contains true stories of people of all sexualities and races being tricked and exploited. I used to think that it was much harder for people who are stronger or smarter to be trafficked, but Archer included statistics that say otherwise. For example, “50% of those who get trafficked from Ukraine have been in higher education.” This shows that anyone can be targeted and used.

Not only can those who are smart be trafficked, the strongest of men can be as well. The story “Rublevka” is the only one in the journal that shows this happen to a man. The man was simply offered a job at a big construction site. Of all of the workers, he was the biggest so he thought that he would be able to take care of himself. He gets there and is immediately put to work. When he asks for pay they just say that it comes on completion, but readers know that completion will never come. This struck me because for weeks he was working as a slave and didn’t even understand that was the case or how he had gotten into that situation.

The image of the dacha is the only image that takes up an entire page in the entire journal. I also noticed that it was printed on inside of both the front and back covers. I feel that this is because this was an important image for Archer as well. It shows how easy it is for someone to be put into slavery and how trapped they are once in open sight. These mansions are in rich neighborhoods, but behind the scenes, the blood of the poor is building them. I feel that this panel showing slaves working on and building the dacha embodies this form of human trafficking and can shows that anyone can be put into this situation.

Blog post by Harrison Todd

I was particularly struck by Evan’s question directed to Dan Archer. The question touched on the media’s gravitation to visual aids in the news, and how this potentially compromises the journalistic integrity behind the story. It was something that I had never explicitly thought about before, and made me question the media outlets with which I keep myself updated. Moreover, it made me look at the short-subject nature of Borderland in an entirely new light, especially compounded by the new information that Archer had a page limitation on the project.

Upon my initial reading, I was taken aback by how abruptly the stories ended, and how little time Archer spent with the victims of the stories. It made for the escalation of events surrounding the human trafficking seem that much more violent and powerful. After hearing that Archer had a limitation, however, it makes one wonder how different the structure of Borderland would be with the free reign that it sounds like Archer didn’t have. Would he have shown the victims more before or after the events, or would he have shown more brutality? In any case, the discomforting effect that Archer reaches in telling these stories in barely over five pages is palpable, truly instilling in the reader the exact feeling that he wanted.

Now, back to Evan’s question. Did Archer compromise any sort of journalistic integrity in visually powered creation? I don’t think so. My answer is related to what I previously stated about the hurried nature of the vignettes. What I associate with other media outlets that use visuals as their primary sources of news are images of disaster and heartbreak on the front page; pictures of anguish from a genocide or hurricane are some examples that come to mind. In Borderland, Archer largely deals in understatement, something that is used to great effect. The image of the girl getting physically assaulted in the orphanage is a striking example of this. In a series of panels, the girl goes from serene sleep to deep anguish as a man’s hand covers her mouth. That’s it, that’s all that Archer has to show to make his point. In creating Borderland, Archer enhances the statistics that are easy to lose track of by adding real, tangible anguish to them. Furthermore, those statistics are given on the page before each of the vignettes, allowing for the two disparate types of information to be given, and for their effect to be reached, on their own and to work together.

Blog Post by Gabriel (gabe) Joseph Dale-Gau

! From my perspective, one of the most intriguing ideas presented in the last two days of talks on human trafficking, was that Dan Archer had spent time peacefully interviewing traffickers themselves. While studying a topic as horrific as this one, it is difficult to find an unbiased perspective. While Archer’s perspective is far from unbiased, as his work is meant to help publicize and popularize the fight against trafficking, it is still quite the feat to accept the opinions and points of view of the criminals in question as valid towards understanding the issue.!

! In his presentation on monday, Anthony Talbot described the fight against human trafficking as an “unthinking movement”; that anyone would agree to help someone in this situation. In many ways this statement is true, there are very few people in the world who agree with child labor wholeheartedly, or would passively watch an underage prostitute be abused. But still every political, social, or moral issue is relative. On the personal-moral level, I do not believe I possess the gumption or stomach necessary to interview a perpetrator of human trafficking with the same composure and attitude that I would use whilst interviewing a victim. I have already made up my mind that a trafficker’s actions are inherently abhorrent, and could never accept their position in this market as valid and morally sound. Still, it must be noted that not everyone involved in the trade of human beings is evil at heart. As noted by both of our speakers, the motive behind this market is not the desire to hurt and disenfranchise vulnerable people, but rather to accrue an enormous profit in the process. This idea is easy to accept but difficult to fully understand. I am willing to bet that many traffickers were once in vulnerable positions themselves, and joined the trade to escape the same state of being as those whom they prey upon.!

! When Dan Archer first described his interviews with traffickers in Nepal, I was shocked that he would approach them at all. After some thought, I realized I had been projecting my own opinions and prejudices onto the topic. I had been Imagining his travels as something similar to war photography; hiding behind ruined structures, searching for survivors hiding in makeshift shelters, and avoiding the criminal traffickers at all costs. But the battlefield of human trafficking is no war zone, the crimes occur in hidden, semi-legal ways that do not disrupt the order of society. Perpetrators and victims of this trade live among us. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had met a few in my life. I

have definitely benefitted from the work of trafficking victims. I am not innocent of shopping at Target or H&M. Through ignorance of the injustices employed by major companies, our society has unknowingly endorsed the use of modern slave work, even though the vast majority of western society does not agree with these methods.! ! It is difficult to understand how to deal with an issue so widely accepted and simultaneously denied by one’s own society, especially if the issue transcends borders. My reactions and opinions on the topics presented in the last two days are all based in my understanding of society as derived from the way of living local to the United States, and specifically the urban United States. As a class, we question the legality of trafficking based on our communal understanding of legality in countries that possess government. Thus Journalism around this subject, and international journalism in general, strikes me as a very complex maze of morality that consumers of media tend to take for granted. Archer joked about how one of his articles was assessed as a three minute read after months of work, but it is a valid point. Articles surrounding international policy must be carefully crafted in order to fit the target audience’s understanding of culture and morality. As the receivers of this media, we rarely glimpse the difficulties of this process, and the differences between societies. More often, americans think of foreign life as identical to our own, or stereotypical in a generally negative fashion. In reality all societies are complex organisms with positive and negative aspects galore.!

! Archer was able to approach sex traffickers for interviews because he understood that these people were not monsters. they would not hurt him for inquiring about their methods. Traffickers live among common people, not in secluded ruins where human trafficking occurs. The issue is closer than we like to realize, while simultaneously occurring in places we could never imagine. This is why Human trafficking is so difficult to publicize. It is a complex worldwide market, not a gang of kidnappers on the run.