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Posted by Patricia Zimmermann at 1:35PM   |  15 comments
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ITHACA, NY — The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) — a Bangkok-based alliance of more than 90 nongovernmental organizations dedicated to defending the rights of trafficked persons and migrants — has formed a partnership with Ithaca College’s Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival in order to discover ways to represent trafficked persons and migrants from a human rights–based perspective.

“FLEFF and GAATW are interested in discovering the ways in which digital art can visualize and engage viewers in experiencing the complexities of migration, human trafficking and labor issues,” said Patricia Zimmermann, a codirector of FLEFF. “Embodying how trafficked people’s identities and experiences can be fragmented and pigeon-holed by authorities and policy makers is very much in keeping with FLEFF’s mission of providing a vibrant space for dialogs that embrace public health, civil war and other global 21st-century concerns.”

“A person can simultaneously be a refugee, a worker, a trafficked person, a family breadwinner, a community leader and an undocumented migrant,” said Julie Ham, program coordinator for GAATW. “Yet policies created to help one identity may end up endangering another identity, such as when repatriation policies for trafficked persons endanger refugees trying to escape conflict and abuse. This partnership with FLEFF will enable us to explore how art practices can address the fragmentation and limitation of people’s identities in antitrafficking and migration policies.”

 “Antitrafficking campaigns often rely on victimization narratives that leave structural barriers, such as racial discrimination and restrictive migration policies, unchallenged,” added Tom Shevory, also a codirector of FLEFF. “Within the framework of our GAATW partnership, we aim to use digital media as a platform to promote the recognition of trafficked persons’ rights, strengths and power. How, for example, may the bodies that are smuggled past political checkpoints be represented in ways that educate viewers about the geopolitical structures that depend on slavery-like practices and conditions?”

 “Checkpoints,” in fact, will be the programming stream of FLEFF 2011, which will take place at Ithaca College and Cinemapolis April 11 to 18. In addition to a weeklong offering of feature films, forums, labs, panel discussions, for-credit labs on new media design and silent film/live music presentations, FLEFF 2011 will feature “Trafficked Identities.” Curated by Sharon Lin Tay and Dale Hudson, this digital art exhibition will give artists the opportunity to explore safety standards for migrant workers, the human rights threats posed by an increasingly global market and other issues central to GAATW’s mission.

A call for entries for “Trafficked Identities” will be issued in January 2011. The winning entry will be awarded a $250 cash prize.

For more information on FLEFF, visit www.ithaca.edu/fleff.

More information on GAATW is available at http://www.gaatw.org.

Launched in 1997 as an outreach project from Cornell University’s Center for the Environment at Cornell University, the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival was moved permanently to Ithaca College in 2005. It is housed in the Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies as a program to link intellectual inquiry and debate to larger global issues.

 

 

 

 


15 Comments

Just recently, two girls working in a hair salon were discovered to be victims of human trafficking. Few people know this appalling violation of human rights is actually happening amongst us. Our idea of slavery is far different than what is occurring today. I honestly think America needs a growth of artistic discussion to increase awareness and break that stereotype.

Anti-Trafficking is an amazing cause to support. Thousands of young girls are taken from their homes or abducted in order for them to become, what amounts to sex slaves. It is a horrible thing to imagine your sister, girlfriend, or any other loved one, being taken away and being drugged so they can be forced to participate in sexual acts. This saddens me every time i think about how low people will go and how terrible people can be.

It is admirable of FLEFF to take part in such a meaningful cause. Bringing attention to a crime that is often neglected or misinterpreted can both enlighten people and shed light on a mostly in-the-dark matter. Using "digital media as a platform to promote the recognition of trafficked persons' right, strengths and power" will undoubtedly draw awareness to the topic, as well as ignite peoples' senses of empathy and need for action. Visual representations of such a subject often have extremely emotional and effective impacts, which is why FLEFFs partnership with GAATW is so important.

I think it's a great idea for FLEFF to be taking part in this cause. Through this network of people we can create awareness to this tragedy. The comment of using media as a platform is very true. One of the greatest aspects of film making is the amount of people it can speak to. By using FLEFF as a tool and resource, we can hopefully make changes to the trafficking problems.

I think that this is an amazing idea and I think that the message is going to be heard. Film is a great way to depict a campaign because film has the ability to evoke emotion in people. Unlike advertising, film can put a face to a cause. Characters can become a useful tool for creating a message because the audience can make a personal connection with the characters and when they leave a film they can feel prompted to make a difference. Cinema is also a great way to challenge particular social ideals, and it is a forum for discussion on human rights. I hope that this particular cause will be heard and that the use of digital media will help spread awareness.

I'm extremely proud to be near something that is highlighting the horror and bringing awareness to human trafficking. My sister went to Nepal to work with girls rescued from trafficking in Nepal and it's a cause that needs more attention and awareness from the global community. I think using film can be an extremely powerful tool and one that can move mountains. I plan to support this even more in the spring.

Apart from the fact that this is an amazing cause to support, it's an interesting way to work towards a solution. Media has such an impact that sometimes people do not even realize the way it is affecting them. There are barriers, as pointed out in the article, preventing people from focusing on the multiple identities of trafficked people. Digital art is an amazing way to engage the viewer, and I'm incredibly excited to watch this continue.

I am very pleased to see that the GAATW has partnered with FLEFF. Human trafficking does not have enough awareness in the United States, but the combined power of these two groups in Ithaca has the potential to create a profound effect on the students’ understanding of the issue. The tie to “checkpoints” is also very interesting: the very political agents that are supposed to stop this event are routinely, and easily, avoided.
On a side note, I have a friend in Los Angeles who recently helped to create a shelter for female victims of Human Trafficking called “She Shall Go Free.” They recently won a Pepsi Refresh grant to help keep the shelter open.

Go FLEFF! Art is a powerful medium to raise awareness of real-life issues, especially those not immediately found in our back yard. Human trafficking is so sad but is hardly talked about. If people could watch a documentary on this, or see a fictional film about such a nonfictional subject, maybe they would be moved enough to help make a difference.

Also, my captcha code was "girl rights"...coincidence?

I think this is a very righteous and appropriate cause for FLEFF to get involved in. There need to be more outlets for information about the many issues surrounding human trafficking. As Americans, it is easy to get drawn into anti-immigrant sentiment considering illegal immigration has become a very serious problem in our nation. However, we don't often find insight into the real lives of immigrants, especially the stories of non-Mexican migrants. Film is a wonderful way to expose these issues that are in such need of awareness in today's world. FLEFF is doing a great thing by partnering up with GAATW.

I think this is a very righteous and appropriate cause for FLEFF to get involved in. There need to be more outlets for information about the many issues surrounding human trafficking. As Americans, it is easy to get drawn into anti-immigrant sentiment considering illegal immigration has become a very serious problem in our nation. However, we don't often find insight into the real lives of immigrants, especially the stories of non-Mexican migrants. Film is a wonderful way to expose these issues that are in such need of awareness in today's world. FLEFF is doing a great thing by partnering up with GAATW.

It's mind-blowing to realize that human trafficking is still an issue today. Like my classmates above, I've got to agree that it's very noble of FLEFF to draw attention to an issue that many people probably believe to have been eradicated. However, when it is a subject that is not only real, but the only reality that these exploited women know, then it's all the more crucial that their stories are heard so this practice truly can disappear.

It always comes to amaze that people still don't know that slavery is still a common problem today. Not in the same open slavery back in the old days, but now hidden and hard to find because most slaves are hidden inside houses or closets away from the world. Not only does slavery happen, but sex trafficking and child slavery are common to and sometimes children are sold into it by poor parents or simple abducted will going to the market. I was in SASS in my high school and we would do a yearly event to inform people about modern day slavery to let everyone know that slavery is still alive and thriving, even today.

I'm glad to hear that FLEFF is supporting this cause. In addition to raising awareness of women trafficking I think another important point to think about is that some of these women are illegal immigrants. Even if they are saved from the horrible abuse that they have to endure, what is stopping government officials from forcing them out of the country? They have already suffered terrible abuse just to be able to live freely. What if they never get the life they hoped for? Advocating citizenship for illegal immigrants is a valid cause worth some consideration.



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