News Releases

Ithaca College's Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival Forms Partnership with Thailand's Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women

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 anti‐trafficking and migration policies.”

“Anti‐trafficking 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

More information on GAATW is available at

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.