The Seattle Times' profile of Yasmin Christopher raises awareness about the evils of Human Trafficking in King County
As I have noted in all of my previous posts, The Seattle Times does not allocate resources for national stories. This, as I have said before, is a good thing since the newspaper does not have the resources to compete with AP or The New York Times on stories of national importance. Of course there are situations in which national stories, like the problems with the Boeing 787's battery, are focused in the Seattle area. In these rare situations The Times does take the lead on national stories.
Photo by Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times
Thankfully, this week my assignment is to critique a profile on The Times' website, and I am finally able to focus on regional news, which the paper covers very well.

The profile that was receiving the most hits on The Times' site was on Yasmin Christopher, a woman who was brought to this country, along with six other relatives, to work on her father's farm near the town of Oakville.

Christopher's father was abusive. He openly beat the adults and molested the children. He used the family as slave labor. He was also not the "typical" profile of a human trafficker, as he was a concert violinist and held a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Washington.

The Times was quick to point out that human trafficking is a crime that often goes unreported, but is increasingly prevalent and has strong ties to the King County area. Human traffickers favor the area due to its busy ports and proximity to Canada.

This profile is especially effective because it puts a face to a major issue that we have all heard about, but perhaps not paid attention to. For many of us, our knowledge of the international crime comes from the mini-series starring Mina Sorvino and Donald Sutherland. But this continues to be an ongoing problem around the world.

Even though the story does not seem incredibly timely, the author attaches it to the campaign to raise awareness on the issue around the king county area launched earlier this year, it remains enthralling to the last word. What makes the article most effective is it is able to paint victims of the crime as people rather than statistics, while still reporting on the issue.

This is what I hope to accomplish with my profile for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service later this semester. I will be profiling a woman who has done great work helping to economically rehabilitate a historically poor neighborhood in Milwaukee. Hopefully I will be able to focus light on the issues facing the ongoing work in the area through telling the story of a person, like The Times has done so effectively here.


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