Comparing Sourcing Strategies

By Joshua D. Payne ’18

International black-markets are the medium for transfer of many different types of goods and services. The variance in these commodities and the methods of their acquisition, distribution, and sale are just as diverse. Two examples of this would be the differences in the trade in “bodies” and in body parts. Though the trade and sale of bodies and body parts may seem similar the way they are handled through the market are for the most part quite different, from the way that they are moved, sold, and controlled, but there is one major step in which these two illegal marketplaces converge and that is in their sourcing.

The so-called trade in bodies is really a term that encompasses many different forms of human trafficking. Whether it be the smuggling of illegal immigrants in and out of countries, exploitation of sex workers, or forced labor these are all different forms of this illicit trade. The main convergence between the trade of bodies and body parts are in the way that their respective suppliers source them. The stories of those who have been trafficked are plentiful and more often than not, recounts of nightmares in the victims lives the abduction and coercion of these individuals is extensive and abundant. Graphic Journalist Dan Archer has set out in an attempt to stop this trade through his artistic talents to bring and attention to the problem in the hopes of creating change. Through his novel Borderland: Seven Stories as Told by Victims of Human Trafficking, Archer recounts seven different experiences that he combined from many different accounts from victims. These stories show multiple different ways that traffickers use to trick and coerce their victims. Though Archer does a good job showing the variance in the backgrounds of victims breaking the stereotype that all those who are trafficked are small, weak, and powerless with stories of educated and strong individuals. Individuals who are often down on their luck, in need of work and will jump at any opportunity at a better life, this hardship makes it easy for traffickers to make these poor souls into their victims. Dangling stories of opportunity and prosperity in front of them and all that they must do is come with them and before they know it their lives are forever changed.

However the sourcing and acquisition of body parts is quite different, with a common convergent thread, preying on the weak. Unfortunately the term, “donor organs” is the primary one used but in reality not every “donation” is done voluntarily. There is the process of voluntarily giving an organ to a loved one like a kidney, or being a organ donor, but these are not the only ways used. The high demand for organs like hearts, lungs, livers, kidneys, have created a huge surplus in demand from first world countries without enough demand to satisfy it and because modern science has yet to produce such organs artificially, the incentive has been created to source these organs by other methods. Researchers have found trends of those from western and first world countries having organs forcibly “sourced” from individuals in less developed countries in South America, Asia, and Eastern Europe, “Residents of the shantytown Alto do Cruzeiro in Northeast Brazil, reported sightings of large blue and yellow vans driven by Americans, sometimes by Japanese agents, who were said to be scouring poor neighborhoods in search of stray youngsters. The children would be nabbed and shoved into the back of the van. Later their discarded bodies, minus heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and eyes, would turn up by the side of the roads, in between rows of sugarcane, or in hospital dumpsters (Scheper-Hughes).” These horror stories are being told around the world, of the strong taking advantage of the weak and the marginalized in society and yet little has been done to curb the problem. And the problems are not just in Brazil or other third world countries, “Paolo Toscelli wrote a series of articles about rumors of poor children kidnapped for their organs in Italy. Over 200 children were reported kidnapped and missing in Italy during 1990 alone (Scheper-Hughes).” Such stories are hard to prove conclusively but similar rumors are being heard around the world.

So what is the relation between these two phenomenon, the sourcing of bodies and body parts? I believe that though the processes that these two trades must go through in the black market are quite different, that they actually converge in their origin. Both bodies and body parts can be sourced in a legal manner, if someone needs a kidney and a family member is a match then they can willingly give it to their loved one. Just as if workers are needed to build a house then they can be hired through a construction firm. But just as both products can be sourced legally they may also be sourced illegally. As shown by Archer victims of trafficking are abused, abducted, and coerced. Tricked into believing that there will be prosperity on the other side while in reality all that comes is more pain and abuse. Body parts are illegally sourced in a similar way except that unlike the trafficking of bodies where the bodies are needed alive for a service, the only value in the trafficking of body parts is in the parts themselves, so in the process of sourcing these organs no concern is given to the lives of the victims who are simply discarded after they have been reaped of their commodities. The sourcing of both these products are incredibly cruel and often violent, their existence is perhaps the darkest shadows cast upon our society as a whole. Until more people stand up in protest of these practices both in their supply and in their demand these abominable human rights abuses will continue to be practiced, and profited from.

Works Cited

Archer, Dan, and Olga Trusova. Borderland: Seven Lives, Seven Stories, as Told by           Victims of Human Trafficking. 1st ed. United States:, 2010. Print.

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. “Theft of Life: The Globalization of Organ Stealing Rumours.”    Anthropology Today 12.3 (1996): 3-11. Web.

Guoqi, Wang. “Habeas Corpus.” Harpers Monthly Feb. 2002: 22-25. Web.

Market differences between cadavers and transplant organs

By Cam Elliot ’18

Cadavers and transplant organs seem at first to be very similar products. After all, both are produced by the same process, that is, people, and one is made up of the other. In practice, however, the markets for these two human products are quite distinct. Transplant organs and cadavers enter the supply chain in different locations as a result of significant difference in the ease with which governments can regulate the two markets.

Cadavers, which have been dead for some time and have no organs that can be used in transplant procedures, enter the supply chain primarily from various willed-body programs in the developed world (Cheney). Tulane University, for example, does not make use of roughly two thirds of the cadavers that it receives- instead, these bodies are distributed by third-party firms, which profit from the transportation process (Mangan). This trading on U.S soil is possible for several reasons. Firstly, although the sale of human organs for transplant is illegal in the U.S, the sale of cadavers is “a gray zone” (Mangan).

Furthermore, willed-body programs include “little supervision of procedures” and donors usually agree to terms that “do not spell out the uses to which their remains might be put” (Phillips). Finally, there is a significant legal loophole that protects corpse brokers: Although selling cadavers is illegal in the U.S, a would-be cadaver salesman can charge as much as they wish for transporting the body, without violating the law (Phillips). Transplant organs, however, are a very different animal, as they are well-regulated and carefully monitored within the U.S (Phillips.) As a result, those in need of organs look abroad, to countries that either cannot or do not prohibit organ sales, and that have large, poor populations desperate enough to sell their organs. Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe, is one of the cheapest source of organs, and many Moldovans know someone who has sold a kidney, even if they have not done so themselves (Sanduta). Similarly, many Bangladeshi sell their organs to pay off debts they would otherwise be forced to default on (Cousins). Other sources include India, China, Brazil, Pakistan, and Romania (Dillard-Wright). Ethical concerns aside, this divergence in supply is a result of significant differences in the transplant organ and cadaver markets. One of the primary contributors to the supply divergence is the relative difficult with which laws governing the two markets can be enforced.

Transplant organs need to be alive at the time of transplantation. In practice, this means that either a living person must be brought to a place where the transplant can occur, or a preserved organ must be brought to the buyer extremely quickly after removal. Furthermore, buyers may want a hospital in the developed world that they know to be reliable to confirm that the organ in question is a match for them, like the purchasers of Moldovan kidneys (Sanduta). An individual with a very high degree of skill is also needed to perform the actual transplant. This leads to a market that can be easily regulated, provided the government of a region has sufficient resources to do so. This is because organ transplants tend to create trails that a law enforcement agency can follow, and provide points of attack for countries, such as the U.S, that are interested in preventing the sale of organs. As a result, within the U.S, organ donation is “all above board and tightly regulated” (Phillips). This stands in stark distinction to the trade in bodies. The most visible distinction is the lack of a living person missing a kidney who might protest the vendor’s actions, and it is a significant one- people are far more likely to pay attention to living people than dead bodies. Due to this, cadavers can be transported much like any other package, or even sent through the U.S postal system. (Cheney). What is more, after a cadaver has been through the market, “cremation covers up unscrupulous operator’s tracks” (Phillips). An organ sale, even if the initial exchange is completed discretely, leaves lasting marks. Implant receivers will likely need anti-rejection drugs, post-op care, and other medical treatment, all of which will be visible in medical records. This lack of discretion makes it easier for organ traffickers to locate a supply that is technically legal, or located in a country that is unlikely to pursue the crime, and deal with the logistics of transporting these organs to the buyers in the developed world than it would be for them to attempt to harvest organs closer to the buyers. Cadaver brokers, by contrast, are better served by taking advantage of the readily-available supply of bodies within the U.S, secure in the knowledge that any laws more restrictive than those currently in place would likely be too costly to enforce in the current political climate.

Recognizing the divergences between these two markets is critical if we wish to effectively regulate either of them. Enforcement efforts in cadaver-trading using the same policing methods as in the organ trade will almost certainly fail, due to the minimal evidence left behind in cadaver trading. It may be easier to limit the cadaver trade through economic disincentives such as taxes then by trying to track down its participants and bring criminal charges against them. Meanwhile, the organ trade is more easily pursued as a criminal matter, due to its more traceable nature- however, to eliminate it, international pressure must be applied to incentivize countries where organ purchases frequently occur to work against the organ trade.

 Works Cited

Cheney, Annie. “The Resurrection Men.” Harper’s Magazine 308.1846 (2004): 45-54.Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.

Cousins, Sophie. “Desperate Measures.” New Internationalist 467 (2013): 42-43. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.

Dillard-Wright, David B. “Life, Transferable: Questioning The Commodity-Based Approach To Transplantation Ethics.” Society & Animals 20.2 (2012): 138-153. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.

Mangan, Katherine S. “The Remains Of Dismay.” Chronicle Of Higher Education50.37 (2004): A27-A28. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.

Phillips, Stephen. “The Return Of The Body Snatchers.” Times Higher Education Supplement 1633 (2004): 22. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.

Sanduta, Iurie, and Barbara Frye. “Selling Themselves.” Transitions Online (2013): 8.Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.

Bodies for Sale

By Ellie DePastino ’18

In a globalized world full of consumers, humans want commodities. Whether it is food to feed a family, or the newest model of a computer, there always exists a demand for products. An odd dichotomy exists, though, when humans are introduced as commodities. Manual labor, sex slavery, and organ transplants all require humans, and these services and commodities associate humans with value that reflects the price of these commodities. By attaching a price to the legal or illegal services humans perform, people run the risk of putting lives in danger and degrading the value of life. While organ and sex trafficking both define humans and human parts as commodities, they differ in the fact that organ trafficking operates as a response to an above ground global shortage, while sex trafficking exists to fulfill an underground need.

The sex industry degrades humans by naming sex a commodity. In Jane Smith’s piece, “Making Movies,” she emphasizes the prices allocated to different sex acts: $25 for a “strip for the camera,” “fifty dollars for a double,” and “for a real f*ck movie,” $75.[1] Not only does setting a price for acting in pornography define sex as a commodity, but the price increments emphasize how more sexual involvement implies a higher value. Outside of pornography, Dan Archer and Olga Trusova display in the graphic novel “Borderlands” the very real experiences of people being sex trafficked and the individual damage done from this industry. Svetlana’s story traces how her pimp views her body as a commodity. She says that her pimp “bought me pretty dresses, and some clients even bought me champagne, provided I did what they wanted.”[2] This exchange of goods for sex as a service shows how sex trafficking removes humanity from people by treating humans as goods. Smith, Archer and Trusova convey how humans are seen as commodities through the porn industry and through sex trafficking—just as organs are seen as goods. However, the point of divergence between the sex industry and organ trafficking involves the amount and legality of the existing demand.

Just as sex trafficking uses bodies as goods, organ trafficking defines humans as commodities in both low- and high-income nations. The practice of organ stealing shows just how valuable body parts are, and it has plagued poor towns in countries across the globe. Anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes writes of these destitute people, often children, who are murdered for their body parts. “Body snatching rumours” stir fear in rural villages that are subject to child abductions. She notes the “municipal truck” seen one day carrying “the remains of an unknown, unclaimed man.”[3] The way these bodies are cared for is tragic, as they are often “mixed up and lost in the cemetery, making it difficult to honour the dead in small Catholic rituals.”[4] Bodies are often treated as disposable goods in low-income countries, and price tags are stuck on them in more well-off nations. In Serbia, a nation suffering from economic crisis, many people ask for tens of thousands of dollars for a kidney. After losing his job, Belgrade resident Pavle Mircov put an advertisement online with his blood type and phone number. He put a $40,000 price tag on his kidney, for he says, “my financial situation is very difficult. I lost my job and I need money for school and for my two children.”[5] The grey market for organs commodifies body parts as a result of the high organ demand, traffickers commit horrifying crimes to obtain organs, and “donors” offer up their organs for a large amount of money in their pocket.

Organ trafficking and sex trafficking both attach a price to a human body, yet the role supply plays into each system separates the two. The global organ shortage crisis affect The World Health organization estimates that the supply of organs does not meet “more than a tenth of the need.”[6]Another estimate states that 18 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant.[7] With this organ shortage crisis, people around the world respond by trying to sell their organs, knowing the high demand and low supply will yield high pay. Additionally, the demand for organs is traced back to individuals that need an organ transplant to save their lives. Because this demand exists above-ground and is legal, it differs from those who demand sex from underground, illicit prostitutes and pimps.

A stunning aspect of organ trafficking is they way it operates within legal spheres. Wang Guoqi details his experience with legal organ extraction in his piece “Habeas Corpus.” Working as a doctor at the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Hospital, he extracted organs from executed prisoners. He recalls the time a prisoner “lay convulsing,” while he and others removed the kidneys and the skin. Throughout the process, “the prisoner was still breathing and his heart continued to beat.” The team decided to save “no way he can survive.”[8] The fact that organs are harvested from breathing bodies close to death is appalling, and it shows the greater extrinsic value placed on bodies compared to their value alive. Activities like these can occur because the demand is so high, and traffickers and extractors harvest high value parts with low costs to them. Guoqi concludes by expanding on the high moral costs that caused him to quit the industry, saying it had “tortured my conscience to no end.”[9]

Though sex trafficking and organ trafficking are similar in the way they define humans as commodities, the two systems diverge at the point of supply shortages. The organ shortage crisis drives individuals to “donate” their organs for pay, while it drives traffickers to commit horrendous acts in order to obtain a high value good. The sex industry does not suffer from a shortage in supply, and the underground demand for sex is fulfilled by an underground supply.

[1] Smith, 136-140.

[2] Archer and Trusova.

[3] Scheper-Hughes, 3.

[4] Ibid, 5.

[5] Bilefsky.

[6] Transplant Brokers, 2.

[7] Clark, Marcia and William Travis Clark.

[8] Guogi, 24.

[9] Ibid, 23.

 Works Cited

Archer, Dan, and Olga Trusova. Borderland. Dan Archer and Olga Trusova, 2010. Print.

Bilefsky, Dan. “Black Market for Body Parts Spreads Among the Poor in Europe.” The

New York Times 28 June 2012. The New York Times Company. Web. 26 Oct. 2014. <>.

Clark, Marcia, and William Travis Clark. “Selling Your Organs: Should It Be Legal? Do

You Own Yourself?” Forbes., 13 June 2013. Web. 24 Sept. 2014. <>.

Guoqi, Wang. “Habeas Corpus.” Harper’s Magazine 304.1821 Feb. 2002: 22-25. Web.

Sack, Kevin. “Transplant Brokers in Israel Lure Desperate Kidney Patients to Costa

Rica.” The New York Times 17 Aug. 2014. The New York Times Company. Web. 26 Oct. 2014. <>.

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. “Theft of Life: The Globalization of Organ Stealing Rumors.”

Anthropology Today 12.3 (1996): 3-11. Web.

Smith, Jane. “Making Movies.” Sex Work: Writings by Women in the Sex Industry 2

(1987): 135-41. Print.

Human Trafficking Blog

A group of three students from Professor Krain’s FYS: Human Rights and Wrongs–Sarah, Katie, and Sammi–worked to compile a detailed website pertaining to human trafficking. The sight introduces readers to the concepts of human rights and walks them through the issue of human rights: what constitutes human trafficking, what are the signs, human trafficking in Ohio, and what everyone can do to make a difference in the face of this global problem. Check it out and send the link on to your families and friends as well–spread the word.

Slavery Is Alive and Kicking by Zane Thornburg

Human trafficking is often overlooked as an issue that exists today. Many people not only believe that it doesn’t exist anymore, but that it hasn’t existed since the US Civil War. I was one of those people until recently. Through the class I am in, I have learned that it is still very real today.

Through a lecture with Anthony Talbott, I not only learned that it still exists, but that it is everywhere. Human trafficking is not just an issue in countries with a history of neglecting human rights, it is an issue on everyone’s home front. I found this out when Anthony Talbott showed a map of the counties in the state of Ohio and my home county was highlighted showing that it had had several human trafficking convictions recently. Human trafficking was never an issue I had ever imagined existing where I am from, but it is.

I would highly suggest to any person who does not know about human rights issues going on around their home to do some basic research to learn what is going on in their area and/or how they can help to stop the issue or raise awareness. Most important when trying to address issues of as human trafficking or other human rights issues and violations, is to remember that certain goods and services available to you may be produced with the exploitation of another person and the violation of their human rights. So, if you are interested in joining in the fight for human rights, you can start small with your own life and research where the goods and services you consume come from and make changes to only purchase goods and services that aren’t produced by violating human rights.

The Variety of Human Trafficking by Mackenzie Kellar

As I listened to Anthony Talbott talk on Monday evening, I was surprised to learn of some of his main points. I think people have different definitions of human trafficking, but Talbott’s definition was chilling and straightforward: “the buying and selling of human beings.” Many have heard of this, but they are unaware of how often and how close to home these horrible atrocities actually occur. Many, too, are unaware of the many types of things that are classified as human trafficking. Forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, debt bondage among migrant laborers, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, child soldiers, and child sex trafficking are the universal types of human trafficking. He also brought to our attention that a human need not be physically transported for it to be considered human trafficking; trafficking can happen in a victim’s own backyard. I think this is something many people don’t consider.

Talbott stated that, although mostly women and children fall victim to trafficking, males do as well. Many people are forced, tricked, or even threatened into situations. They are often lured in with the promise of work opportunities, false romantic involvement, offers in exchange for sex, or even by being kidnapped. This, to me, is sickening; human beings taking advantage of fellow human beings. This goes to show how many see others as lesser than them, and that “slavery” is still an issue in today’s society. Many tend to think that these things don’t occur anymore, or that they only occur in other countries, but Talbott went on to show us that trafficking is even happening here in Ohio. As horrible as it is, there are not many ways to completely abolish these atrocities, at least not right away. Activists are raising awareness and calling people to action, but it will take more than just that. We learned that trafficking brings in about $32 billion annually, and I was dumbfounded. I had no idea that this was still such a huge issue and part of today’s society. I think Talbott did a great job of informing all of us on such a huge topic, and he got his point across very well.

I also really enjoyed hearing from Sara McKinnon on Thursday as she shared a chapter from her book, “Standing in Her Shoes: Transnational Politics in U.S. Asylum Policy for Chines Opposing Population Control.” It was very interesting to hear her view on this topic. She covered things I wasn’t even aware of and raised many questions. It was also really neat that we were some of the first people who had the privilege of hearing an excerpt from her book. I think all of the speakers did a very nice job of getting their messages across and getting all of our minds thinking of ways we can help with these huge issues. I really enjoyed learning, more in depth, about human trafficking and beyond.


Perspectives on Borderlands by Sidney Irias

Nowadays, societies live by stereotypes, labeling people by what they think is acceptable, even happening without people knowing they are judging others. What the speakers explained to us about Borderlands was eye opener. Borderlands contains powerful, real life stories about human trafficking. I believe all these comics were amazing because they not only contain a story but also drawings which allow us to see what really happens without photoshop, frames, or a clear face of the character. Pain and frustration describe almost every story and the person involved in it.

We usually believe that people who do not have a decent job chose that life, but is that true? This brief book makes us see things from another perspective, the victim’s perspective. These people suffered abuse and know know the suffering of long term psychological damage. It is so hard to imagine someone in this position without asking why it happened to them. Truth is there is no answer for that, there is no one reason. These were all examples of people who looked further a better future but ended up trapped in human trafficking. Unfortunately, many will never understand their stories and will simply judge them for the life they lead without knowing their story.

Everybody has a story to tell in this life, whether is a fortunate or an unlucky one. Getting to know a person begins with a single question. There are millions of people going through the misfortune of human trafficking in the world. We can help reduce human trafficking. One of the forms to do so is to educate everyone as much as possible. Human trafficking is one of the worst things people can do. It leaves a person damaged after everything, sometimes without hope or motivation for the future. Thanks to Dan Archer and Donna Trusova we know a little more about human trafficking, how to be aware of it, and how it works.

The Necessity of Critical Consumption by Nicole West

Being college students, many of us can agree that the balances in our bank accounts are pretty limited. And as a result we’re always looking to save some money. We’ve all purchased a cheap item at Walmart or a dollar store and have been thrilled at the savings. But many of us don’t stop to think about the real cost behind it. Would you support the exploitation and abuse of a child through the forced labor industry? Or even the exploitation of adults? A majority of us would adamantly say no, we agree that it’s a morally corrupt practice. But we often fail to realize that we are doing just that when we purchase cheap goods. These cheap products are typically made in sweat shops by men, women, and children who have fallen victim to human trafficking. Not exactly what you thought when you saw that price tag, right?

I would never say that I support such an industry, but Anthony Talbott’s talk made me realize that I have indeed done exactly that. Many of us have by being uninformed consumers. This isn’t some small industry, either. Approximately 21 million men, women, and children have been trafficked and are victims of forced labor.1 Contrary to popular belief, many of these people are educated. They just find themselves in difficult times and are often lured in by the pretense of a stable job and necessities.2 They want to provide a better life for themselves or their families and so they accept the offer. They are often transported locally, nationally, or even internationally. When they arrive, despite the promises, they typically perform very tedious work for little to no pay under very poor conditions. Traffickers then use violence, coercion, debt bondage, and other tactics to keep victims from leaving.2 Traffickers are only in the business because they can make a large profit. With the global population increase, they can now purchase workers at very low costs. They then make a profit when the products that cost them virtually nothing to make are sold in the global marketplace. Forced labor provides an illegal yearly profit of approximately $150 billion.1 The profit is the main reason why traffickers are in the business, not because they personally have anything against the victims. Instead, they see an economic opportunity and thus find people who can easily be exploited. This is a human rights issue and a global problem. There are efforts in many countries to help end the trafficking taking place around the world, but unfortunately the victims are the ones being criminalized instead of the traffickers.

Anthony Talbott’s talk really opened my eyes on the topic of human trafficking, the modern day form of slavery. Sadly, this is not the only from of trafficking, but it was the one that I was least aware of. Talbott suggested being an informed buyer as a means to combat the issue. By knowing where our products are coming from we can avoid purchasing those made by forced laborers. An alternative option to purchasing more expensive products that were not made by forced laborers is to buy cheaper secondhand goods so at least workers aren’t re-exploited. By just taking a few minutes to educate ourselves on where our merchandise is coming from we can make a difference.

  1. “Forced Labour, Human Trafficking and Slavery.” International Labour Organization. Web. 26 Oct. 2014. <–en/index.htm>
  2. “Human Trafficking.” Polaris. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <>

The Culmination of Our Classes About Trafficking

To begin our discussions of human trafficking, we first read the piece of graphic journalism “Borderland”, by Dan Archer. The stories Archer told interwove many of the important ideas of human trafficking with illustration and literary devices. He highlighted how our uses for slavery in the modern day frequently revolve around cheap consumer products, such as agriculture and clothing; purchases which are so frequent we don’t even think about what could be behind their production. To illustrate this point, he frequently depicted a whole image, separated by a gutter into two panels, to show how harsh working conditions were hidden in plain sight (Archer 13, 15, 22). Another method Archer used was to show the consumer’s mindless view of what they were consuming, and then the same image from a different perspective; in illustrating the bakery like this, he showed how we all could be walking past trafficked laborers without even knowing it (18). This served as our kicking off point, and it did it well; Archer made the topic approachable, and as fast as one needed it to be, without lacking depth if the reader were to delve into his illustrations.

Page 22 in Borderland

As we began to move from the stories of those who were trafficked to the movements trying to help them, we read about the tomato pickers of Immokalee, Florida. In order to harvest tomatoes at a low cost, workers are brought over the border with promises of a fair wage and lots of work (Estabrook). However, when many of the workers arrived, they were met with terrible working conditions and didn’t receive fair pay for it (Estabrook). This has left us where we are today; progress is eventually being made after many years of fighting the food industry about ensuring that it’s tomatoes are produced free of unfairly treated laborers. Companies such as A&W, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, Long John Silver’s, McDonald’s Burger King, Whole Foods Market, and Subway have all agreed to pay slightly more for the tomatoes in order to ensure the workers are getting a fair wage (Estabrook). Interestingly, just two days ago the first “Fair Food” label started being produced in response to Immokalee’s poor working conditions (Williams). Similar to previous labels, it aims to inform consumers that the foods they’re producing are harvested by pickers making a fair wage and are given fair working conditions (Williams). The label will soon be seen on Whole Foods Markets’ tomatoes, after they move through the basic administration hurdles (Williams). After becoming aware of this issue, I look forward to hopefully identifying “Fair Food” labeled products when I visit the grocery store in my hometown.

The second part of our reading was regarding the statistics and trends about those who are trafficked. Perhaps most interesting to me was the trends and breakdown of the backgrounds that trafficking victims come from. ‘External macro environmental causes’, or larger issues facing society, ‘external micro environment causes’–issues within one’s personal life with friends and family, or an ‘individual interpersonal situation’–a lack of feeling control over their own life–were identified in almost all victims of trafficking (Ohio Trafficking). It really emphasized to me how trafficking victims are at the whim of the environment they’re placed in; people might accidentally walk into being trafficked, but what made them wander into their situation was the circumstances of their life before that.

All of the basic information we found in these readings culminated into Dr. Anthony Talbott’s talk about human trafficking as a problem in general and in Ohio. This time, however, he talked about what’s led to the situation of human trafficking we have today. As slavery transitioned between what it is today and what it once was, several events occurred. The population exploded while poverty, destitute conditions, and absence of law remained. These conditions allow for pimps, traffickers, and others in the business to take advantage of those in desperate conditions. While the traffickers may immoral, the basis of their business is the economic gain as a result of lack of enforcement; were we to be more aware of the products we purchase, the signs the people around us display, and the global issue that is human trafficking, the business itself would collapse. Instead, we’ve forgotten the issue as the global slave population diminished, allowing for slavery to change forms to what we see today. According to Talbott, the results of awareness are noticeable; since being educated on recognizing trafficking victims, the Ohio State Patrol’s numbers of victims they helped exit trafficking circles shot up. If there is one thing I hope to achieve after listening to Talbott discuss these issues, it is to integrate my new found knowledge of human trafficking more frequently into my daily purchases and what I write on my ballot.

After reading and reviewing Dan Archer’s writing and illustrations on the topic of human trafficking in and around Ukraine, it was nice to finally hear how his experiences with trafficking victims helped in creating Borderland. It seemed to me that we focused on most was how one creates such a work while having as much academic integrity as possible; Archer had quite a bit to say on the subject. As he was creating Borderland, he drew the images and showed them to the person whose story he was documenting, to make sure they felt it was accurate to their emotions and experiences. One thing that concerned me about the medium was how one could create depth while using images to do so; similarly to how I felt about his work, Archer felt that it was a diving board to further people’s interest and discussions of human trafficking. This was definitely the case for me as well, as I felt it told people’s stories much better than writing, but didn’t contain much statistical information besides the necessary text excerpts.

Finally, we ended on the Sara McKinnon talk. While I wasn’t able to attend this, as I was at the Helen Murray Free Lecture with the permission of Dr. Mirakhor, I did look up some of the basic history of US Asylum Policy with regards to China. As a result of China’s ‘One Child Policy’, many women sought asylum in the United States as otherwise they were forced into having abortions (Chinese Asylum). While this wasn’t covered under older laws, it was addressed, and women could seek asylum in the United States for fear of persecution (Chinese Asylum). However, now problems arise as men come seeking asylum for themselves and their pregnant wives in China, but aren’t granted it for either of them (Chinese Asylum). Women must come themselves, and their husbands must prove their persecution by the Chinese government separate from the violations of their wive’s rights, meaning women may choose to remain as well (Chinese Asylum).

Ultimately through this series of lectures I feel like a more informed person, and more active citizen with regards to trafficking. I’ve been shown the ways I effect the world through my purchases and political actions and plan to use these mediums to support victims of human trafficking in the future, when possible.

Works Cited

Archer, Dan, and Olga Trusova. “Borderland.” Borderland. Stanford: Archcomix, 2010. 13, 15, 18, 22. Print.

“Chinese Asylum.” Chinese Asylum Seekers USA. New York Human Rights Committee, n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <>.

Estabrook, Barry. 2009. “Politics of the Plate: The Price of Tomatoes.” Gourmet. March 2009, Pp.40-46.<>.

Ohio Trafficking in Persons Study Commission, Research and Analysis Sub-Committee. 2010. “Ohio Trafficking in Persons Study Commission Research and Analysis Sub-Committee Report on the Prevalence of Human Trafficking in Ohio To Attorney General Richard Cordray.” Ohio Attorney General’s Office.<>.

Williams, Amy Bennett. “Fair Food Label Makes Its National Debut.” Gannett Company, 25 Oct. 2014. Web. 27 Oct. 2014.<>.

Human Trafficking: We Are the Demand by Sarah Huffman

During this past week I had the opportunity to hear from several people, including graphic journalist Dan Archer and professor and activist Anthony Tallbot. And while we discussed many useful facts, statistics, and issues throughout the week, I started to discover something more and more unsettling as the discussion progressed: these perpetrators, ring leaders, and pimps are not manifestations of evil and wickedness. They all don’t share some monstrous face. They are, in other words, normal, every-day looking people. The act, therefore, of human trafficking isn’t due to irrational wantonness and psychopathy, but instead to simple capitalization by these ring leaders off of a profitable industry. And—like any industry—when there is a demand, there will be a supply to meet it. We are that demand.

We are the demand whether we realize it or not. The issue is that we, including many living in Ohio, tend to avoid thinking about where our products come from. Even though we know that the sources of many of our goods are questionable, we usually laugh it off and attribute it to the lazy and over-indulgent nature often associated with the American stereotype. However, by doing this, we lighten and ignore the very serious origin of how our goods are made. Although what I have discussed so far mainly pertains to labor trafficking, it can also apply to sex trafficking. There is a demand for that as well, and the stereotypes and jokes we make about sex trafficking do not help either. Through our actions and inactions we have effectively normalized and routinized human trafficking, which is modern-day slavery.