The Intervention Dilemma and Human Trafficking

Susan Paterno brings to light in her article, “ The Intervention Dilemma,” the struggle of journalists who cover stories involving violations of human rights. The intervention dilemma undeniably applies to journalists who cover human trafficking. Where do journalists draw the line regarding intervention? The answer isn’t simple. While the decision to intervene in these situations is partially dependent on a journalist’s personal convictions, it should also depend upon a standard held by all journalists regarding intervention.

Journalists must speak up

Journalists must speak up

As Paterno addresses in her article, a large part of this dilemma arises from the fear that a story might change or lose its integrity if the journalist intervenes. So which takes priority? Is it the risk of presenting a conflict of interest or the risk of further harm being brought upon these survivors?


The Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking prioritizes spreading awareness in order to eradicate human trafficking. While awareness is a crucial step in this process, can journalists covering human trafficking do more to help the cause? Because often times human trafficking victims are found in large numbers, another journalists face an additional problem; even if they wanted to help these people escape their circumstances, they are most likely incapable of helping all of them.

I think the best thing journalists covering human trafficking stories can do is to implement timeliness and to clarify their messages. As the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking points out, often times human trafficking gets lumped into other issues such as immigration. Journalists must get the stories to the audience it will resonate most with…an audience who will care enough to take action and help.

Aside from that, I think journalists should inform authorities in whatever region or country where they are reporting about the specific injustices they have witnessed. These reporters should not expect their audience to take action unless they are invested enough to take action themselves.


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