Sharing the Message of Human Trafficking: Roles and Responsibilities

Karen Countryman-Roswurm & Bailey Patton Brackin | September 10 | 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM | Room 2584

Awareness and media coverage of human trafficking has increased substantially in the last decade causing an unprecedented number of people desirous to engage in efforts to combat human trafficking (Countryman-Roswurm, 2015). While most involved in the anti-trafficking movement are well intentioned, often times the behaviors and actions undertaken by these allies are harmful to the very survivors they are trying to serve (Countryman-Roswurm, 2015; Douglas, 2013; Lloyd, 2013; Smith, 2014). Within the anti-trafficking movement, more and more survivors are being used as propaganda. They are asked to share their stories in the media in order to raise funds or awareness with little thought to the effects of reliving the trauma and the significant impact this may have on the post-traumatic stress disorder most survivors deal with (Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, 2011; Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls and Young Women, 2012). In addition, rather than being recognized and/or compensated as experts and leaders in the anti-trafficking movement, survivors are being taken advantage of in the pursuit of a story that has emotional pull (Countryman-Roswurm, 2015; Douglas, 2013; Lloyd, 2013; Smith, 2014). Presenters will discuss ways in which media portrayals of survivor’s stories and the portrayal of human trafficking as a whole can be both harmful and beneficial. Presenters will also provide guidelines and best practices for sharing the message of human trafficking in a manner that does not exploit survivors but rather empowers and puts their needs first.
1) Explore the harmful and exploitive practices used by media, service providers, and advocacy groups to share the message of human trafficking.
2) Understand the risks of asking a survivor to share their story.
3) Learn practical tips to share the message of human trafficking in a manner that empowers and respects each survivor’s unique story and healing journey.

About the Presenter