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Absolute Safety Training Sex Trafficking Mainstream Journalistic Representation

Absolute Safety Training Sex Trafficking Mainstream Journalistic Representation

Question Description

Genre: Critical essay + Feature-style investigative news report + reflective paragraphs.

® Please Submit on Canvas via the Assignments Tab. Make sure to select Assignment 4.

® Total 6 pages as follows:

  • Critical essay: 4 pages double spaced addressing Part 1 + Part 2 as described below.
  • Feature-style investigative news report: 1 page single-spaced + 1-2 paragraph explanation addressing Part 3 as described below.

® DUE by Sunday, Nov. 24, latest by midnight (i.e. before Monday, Nov. 25).

Part 1. Explain the biases, assumptions and stereotypes prevalent in investigative humanitarian journalism about sex trafficking. Why are they problematic? Provide examples of aspects of writing or filming that reflect the problems with this form of representation of sex workers in the global South.


From Course Material:

  • Refer to the academic article by Carrie Baker OR Roxana Galusca (Pick ONE).
  • Refer to at least ONE of Nicholas Kristof’s NYT columns posted on Canvas and discussed in class.
  • Discuss least ONE MORE example of journalistic or activist representation of sex trafficking as explained by the author you picked (Baker or Galusca) OR as covered in lecture.
  • Lectures: Refer to AT LEAST ONE: Nov 14 and 19. Draw upon the lecture/s and class discussion of : provide an overview of why the dominant media representations of trafficking are problematic AND explain why rescues are an appealing, but overly simplistic solution to sex trafficking.

® You may additionally use the lectures, videos etc. to provide any background information and/or illustrative examples that would be useful for your essay. Just be sure to cite your source. If it’s the lecture, cite the lecture.

Part 2. Drawing upon Sine Plambech’s work, what are some alternative ways of researching and representing sex trafficking? How are they different from Kristof’s? How do they help to minimize bias when writing about gender and sexuality in the Global South when based in the Global North?


Part 3.

  • Rewrite Kristof’s stories about sex trafficking in Cambodia in a single feature-style investigative news report, using alternative writing strategies that minimize the problems of representation discussed in Part 1.
  • After the news report, provide a 1-2 paragraph explanation of how you wrote this report differently from Kristof’s reports/ other problematic depictions we have critiqued.
  • You will not refer to any sources here, but will draw upon the possibilities you discussed in Part 2, and your own ideas on how to do this differently from Kristof and Co.
  • You can, but don’t have to, refer to any sources here. The idea is to explain the writing choices you made for the news report – your thought process and reflections.
  • Ben Taub’s report, “The Desperate Journey of a Trafficked Girl” posted on Canvas.
  • This is a very long report. Yours will only be one single spaced page.
  • Just skim through the genre example to get an idea of the tone and style of writing.

® Note: The syllabus mentions an additional article apart from the genre example. I am simplifying this assignment, so you can ignore that.

Genre example for Parts 1 and 2 (Critical essay)

® This is an example of a critical essay. However, note that it is an op-ed/ blog post, so it is written in the first person and sometimes uses “I.” You should avoid this in your essay.

® The genre example primarily critiques Kristof, but your essay need to have a broader scope. You will write about Kristof, but situate his work more broadly within patterns of problematic journalistic and activist representation.

Genre example for Part 3 (feature-style news report)

Purpose of this assignment

  • Demonstrate the ability to write in two important genres: A critical essay and a sensitive, reflective, and nuanced journalistic report.
  • Demonstrate that you have paid attention in class and understood the course material.
  • Summarize and Synthesize the assigned reading, lecture and discussion to write a concise and strong critique with supporting examples.
  • Demonstrate that you have understood why the forms of representation of sex trafficking we are critiquing are problematic.
  • Demonstrate the ability to write a complex, nuanced, yet interesting account without committing these mistakes/ resorting to these stereotypes.



Writing Strategies and Tips

  • For Parts 1 and 2:
    • Please continue to follow all of the Writing Tips and Strategies we have covered in class so far, from the assigned writing text “Writing in College” (Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4), the “Writing Tips” document posted on Canvas, and the Introduction and Conclusion writing tips.
    • Implement the writing strategies emphasized in lecture and sections.
    • Improve on the writing strategies you have used for previous assignments.
    • Pay attention to the note about the genre example.
  • For Part 3:
    • Your intro and conclusion do not have to be as comprehensive as they would for Assignments 1, 2, and 3, or for Parts 1+2 of this assignment.
    • You can write them creatively, with “punch,” along the lines of the report provided as genre example for Part 3.
    • Just remember not to commit the same mistakes as Kristof or resort to sensationalism!

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