Now that I have my first year at DU completed, I have a lot more time to catch up on TV shows and films people have recommended that I see. After a few weeks of diligent watching, however, I have begun to notice an interesting trend in all the shows I focus on: no matter what the main theme of the show, there seems to inevitably be an episode that happens to revolve around, or at least briefly mention, the issue of human trafficking.
Following the most recent depiction of the problem in an episode of Drop Dead Diva, I started to wonder about the importance of such presentations of a problem I am interested in investigating. After some reflecting, I realized that I am somewhat uneasy about human trafficking as the newest fad in subject matter for popular TV shows. I get the idea. This is a serious problem. Most people will not voluntarily educate themselves on such a problem. We need to get them to pay attention. So the topic is inserted in an episode of a show watched by millions. Is making people socially aware what the writers of TV shows are really concerned about, though?
Furthermore, the manner in which the fictional characters across various channels stumble upon the issue appears to be very restricted. They are either outraged and surprised to find out that such an issue exists or they act as if this is a common problem most people are aware of. The truth is that advocates in the field have been fighting to expose the problem, investigate its characteristics, and find promising practices to eradicate it for years. Getting people outraged and determined to do something is not their ultimate goal, however. Acting with no idea what would work often brings more damage to those we are trying to assist. Engendering sustainable changes that would transform the way in which society is constructed and eventually lead to less vulnerability and opportunity for exploitation is hard to achieve, in one day or in one year. Simply stating that the goal is to free as many people as possible is not a solution. Freeing as many people as possible is not a solution. The issue is multifaceted so the solution will not be as simple as often presented in popular media.