Tar Heel Talks: The Irina Project

Associate Professor Barbara Friedman and Professor Anne Johnston lead The Irina Project to improve the quality of media coverage of sex trafficking.

Sex trafficking is among the world’s fastest-growing criminal enterprises, according to the United Nations. And, as media scholars, Friedman and Johnston realize that the media and journalism fields are implicated in multiple ways.

For example, media technologies allow advertising of the sex trade and provide a platform through which traffickers lure and exploit their victims. Popular media glamorize life in industrialized nations in a way that contributes to an environment conducive to trafficking. However, the media also play a significant role in helping to raise awareness about the true nature and impact of sex trafficking on communities.

TIP monitors media representations of sex trafficking, and advocates through research and engagement the responsible and accurate coverage of the issue.

Check out more Tar Heel Talks at mj.unc.edu/TarHeelTalks.