E. Activity #2: Dealing
with Human Trafficking (10 points)
For your second activity, we're going to watch a documentary
about the boom -- despite the dangers it poses -- in illegal worldwide
First, though, we need to do a little background preparation.
Go to Wide Angle's video,
Dying To Leave.
On that page read the paragraph titled About The Film. From the
Inside this Episode menu on the upper right, choose the following links.
Introduction (the first page)
Photo Essay: Confronting the Problem of Human Smuggling
Business of Human Trafficking Introduction
Business Structures (linked at the bottom of the intro page)
Criminal Groups (linked at the bottom of the previous page)
Trafficking Routes (linked at the bottom of the previous page)
Human Trafficking Worldwide Introduction
Albania (linked at the bottom of the intro page)
China (linked at the bottom of the previous page)
Mexico (linked at the bottom of the previous page)
Morocco (linked at the bottom of the previous page)
Sudan (linked at the bottom of the previous page)
Suriname (linked at the bottom of the previous page)
Thailand (linked at the bottom of the previous page)
Turkey (linked at the bottom of the previous page)
United Arab Emirates (linked at the bottom of the previous page)
United Kingdom (linked at the bottom of the previous page)
Continue to choose links until you've read through all 4 pages (and their linked sections) listed above.
Inside this Episode menu on the upper right of any of the above pages, choose the
Video: Full Episode link to take you to the documentary. Read the introduction above the player.
The documentary plays on Adobe Flash Player, available on the video site. The documentary is just under an hour in length and has been divided into 8 clips for viewing. The player is in the middle of the page with the individual clips arranged underneath. The clips are accessed by clicking on the picture for each. However, if you click on the white arrow in the middle of the player, the player will automatically go from clip to clip without stopping. There are two small icons just under the player on the right. One controls the player's screen size and one the volume. You should be able to watch the documentary on any but the oldest and slowest computers ... although the slower your connection, the longer it will take your computer to load the video. Be patient!
Every year, an estimated two to four million people are shipped in containers, shepherded through sewage pipes, secreted in car chassis and ferried across frigid waters. Others travel on legitimate carriers but with forged documents. An alarming number of these migrants end up in bondage, forced to work as prostitutes, thieves or as laborers in sweatshops. Two terms often used for such desperate migrants are
human trafficking and human cargo.
Human cargo can be defined in many different ways, from trafficking of women and children for labor to political and economic refugees using organized crime to escape life-threatening conditions in their homelands. As you watch the documentary, consider the following questions. (Do NOT send me the answers to these ... they're only to help you stay focused during the documentary.)
What is the relationship between the migration of people and ethnic tensions and nationalism?
What role does economics play in the migration of people?
Is it possible that conditions in migrants' home countries are so desperate that the possibility of dangers during migration are worth the risk?
Is it possible that conditions in traffickers' home countries are so desperate that they feel they have no other choice but to benefit from those desperate to leave?
What opposition has risen to global migration? Why?
To what extent are current migrations similar to early migrations? How are they different?
What impact has immigration had on the migrant?
What impact has immigration had on the regions involved?
Are there some basic rights everyone has and are entitled to?
Should the problem of human cargo be addressed by the international community?
Are there steps to take that the United Nations and world governments should be focusing on regarding human trafficking?
Laura Agustín has, in recent years, made a name for herself challenging the mainstream views of human trafficking. Agustín says that for millions of people all over the world, their birth and childhood place is not a feasible or desirable one in which to undertake more adult or ambitious projects and moving to another place is a conventional — not traumatic — solution. How does this decision to move take place? Earthquakes, armed conflict, disease, lack of food impel some people in situations that seem to involve little element of choice or any time to process options. According to Agustín, the trafficking discourse relies on the assumption that it is better for people to stay at home rather than leave it and get into trouble. But if one of our goals is to find a vision of globalization in which poorer people are not constructed solely as victims, Agustín says we need to recognize that strategies which seem less gratifying to some people may be successfully utilized by others.
A rural person from a third-world country can arrive in Europe and, with the right contacts, soon be in a position to earn 5000
euros or more a month. Agustín says the surprise this figure may cause is related to the media’s nearly exclusive coverage of isolated examples of the worst exploitation. The ability to earn such an amount depends on being introduced or introducing oneself into a market, having the skills to operate there and learning to manage that kind of money (a frequent problem is large-scale consumption which tends to cancel out high earnings). But one must also give credit where credit is due, recognize the resourcefulness of most migrants and allow them the possibility of overcoming feelings of victimhood and experiencing pleasure and satisfaction within difficult situations and in strange places. Yet Agustín's writing seems to be at total odds with what we saw in the documentary. Why?
After you've covered the assignment
material, I'd like you to send me an essay that answers the question:
Is human trafficking a problem we have a moral obligation to eradicate or is it a
valid cultural choice even if we don't understand it?
Your answer to that question may be as long or as brief as you want but it must pass two tests.
First, your answer must exhibit an understanding of
geographic concepts. Make
specific and detailed connections to course content.
Second, your answer must reflect the information given in the assignment, both from the video & readings and from the information on
Use what you learned from the assignment to make your case. Too, while I welcome you to include your opinions as part of your comments, those opinions must have some basis in fact. This is the time to demonstrate some critical thinking!
Please be careful to use
correct spelling and grammar.