On Tuesday, July 17, 2012, a famous face and name lent their voice to fight human trafficking in the US and the world. Jada Pinkett Smith, actress and activist, testified during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting that she plans to generate a campaign raising awareness for the issue in order to spur political and civic action. Husband, Will Smith, and their daughter, Willow, were both in attendance.
I was so excited when I heard about this on CNN on that Tuesday morning. I immediately got online to search out news coverage on the event, and was deeply disappointed to find almost no coverage. I set up a Google email alert for myself, thinking the coverage would definitely pile up as the day went on. A full week later, I believe I have received a total of 6 emails concerning SFRC meeting and Smith's presence there.
It's sad to think that tabloids crank out celebrity gossip every day, news stations go over and over and over details of the latest politicians' marriage scandals and talk shows look more and more like lifestyle channels instead of approaching serious issues, and an event that ranks highly with historic journalistic news values such as prestige, timeliness, relevance and conflict received very little media attention in the scheme of things.
The one news outlet I was surprised to be impressed by was the Huffington Post. You can read their coverage of the Smiths' presence at the meeting and interest in the issue here
. The article was to-the-point and factual, but also included background in the form of a slide show entitled The Many Faces of Prostitution
at the bottom of the page.
It is wonderful and exciting to see the Smith family taking action. I was encouraged, and I hope those of us in Chicago can be encouraged to continue to fight the endemic and epidemic of human trafficking. No action on behalf of those imprisoned is insignificant, and local actions impact the globe.
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Traffick Free - Communications Team