Aesthetic Whistle-Blowers: The Importance and Limitations of Art and Media in Addressing Human Trafficking

  • Andrew KoomanEmail author
Living reference work entry


As academic research focused on human trafficking garners more public attention, art-focused responses to human trafficking are on the rise. Film, theatre, public art installments, and popular television shows bring human trafficking to light in both positive and negative ways. Works of literature in the past such as Hannah More’s antislavery poetry in the late eighteenth century and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s writing in the twentieth century disrupted the status quo. Their work influenced multiple levels of society, including government policy and practice, in regard to the transatlantic slave trade as well as the horrors of enslavement and forced labor in the Gulag system in the USSR, respectively. Can contemporary works of art do for human trafficking what More’s and Solzhenitsyn’s work did in their day? First, this chapter will examine how writers can influence public perception by alerting readers to the complexity and nature of human trafficking to serve as “aesthetic whistle-blowers” and will highlight literary works that have sounded the alarm. Secondly, it will explore some of the pitfalls or ways that literature can be unhelpful to antislavery efforts. This chapter therefore considers how world literature positions itself to alert audiences to the realities of trafficking in order to help build social and political will necessary to address human trafficking.


Aesthetics Literary forensics Art Human trafficking 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unveil StudiosRed DeerCanada

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