The Human Trafficking Survivor

I am drawn to the survivor. How the survivor heals and rebuilds their life can be a never ending-battle. Every survivor’s story has its trials and tribulations, as well as a glimpse of hope.

I met Sherry Dooley in the spring of 2010 when I decided to do a journalism project on human trafficking in Portland, OR. This was around the time when I truly discovered the power of networking. I met Sherry through another survivor and since then, Sherry has introduced me to many other valuable sources.

When I first met Sherry, she shared her story of survival with me.

“I was raped I don’t how many times, I can’t count, I can’t count,” Dooley said as she raised all 10 fingers up in frustration.

When I decided to tackle the issue of human trafficking again in the fall of 2011, I immediately thought of Sherry and the passionate interview I shared with her in 2010. This has motivated me to find another survivor who is willing to speak about the issue of housing in the Portland area.

Speaking with a trafficking survivor can be a complicated endeavor however, especially since many are apprehensive about journalists exploiting them. When I decided I wanted to create a multimedia piece about a survivor, I evaluated my possibilities.

  1. I am a member of Slavery Still Exists, a campus group at the University of Oregon that focuses on the issue of trafficking locally.
  2. I have established friendships with survivors Sherry Dooley and Jeri Williams.
  3. I have interviewed Joslyn Baker and Lila Lee, advocates for the issue in the Portland area.

All of these possibilities seemed promising; the key however, was first establishing trusting relationships with these contacts. When dealing with this issue, I have found that trust is key! It is impossible to get anywhere unless you have proved that you can be considerate, accommodating and trust worthy.

Through Joslyn Baker, I met trafficking survivor, Rachel Hestmark. I am currently working with her to address her story of survival and the issue of housing for survivors in the Portland area through a multimedia piece.

Watch the multimedia piece I produced in 2010 for Ethos Magazine, a student publication at the University of Oregon, about Sherry Dooley’s story of survival.


About arianeleigh

I am a senior journalism student from the University of Oregon with a focus in photography and multimedia and a passion for human rights issues. View all posts by arianeleigh

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