The Press and Human Trafficking

There was a discussion in New York not long ago about the role of the media in covering human-trafficking. On the one hand there were people like UN under secretary-general Antonio Mario-Acosto, executive director for the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, who believed at most the media gets a C because “the media has failed to create a sense of anger in the population.” On the other there were people like George Daniels, an associate professor of Journalism at the University of Alabama, who thought that “the media reflects the reality of society.” The exchange which took place at a panel discussion organized by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University does prompt one to think of the role of the press in general and with human trafficking in particular. Contemporary media tends to be segmented by small niches speaking to the choir of their respective constituencies. While that gives audiences or readers a sense of comfort it does not inform them in the same way. Human trafficking is as unconscionable as it is odious. If we were better informed about its tentacles wouldn’t we angrier, or at least less silent?