On Tuesday, April 24, PBS Frontline will air the Investigative Reporting Program‘s documentary Trafficked in America. The film investigates how teenagers from Central America were smuggled into the U.S. by traffickers who promised them jobs and a better life, only to force them to live and work in virtual slavery to pay off their debt. The documentary exposes a criminal network that exploited undocumented minors, the companies that profited from their forced labor, and the U.S. government policies and practices that helped deliver some teens directly to their traffickers.
“Trafficked in America” was produced at the J-School’s Investigative Reporting Program, and by its nonprofit production company, Investigative Studios, and PBS Frontline.
The film was written and produced by the IRP’s, Daffodil Altan, and the J-School’s Andrés Cediel, both from the class of ’04. Altan is also the film’s correspondent. Previously they produced “Rape on the Night Shift” (2015) and “Rape in the Fields” (2013) – award-winning investigations about sexual abuse in the agricultural and janitorial industries. IRP founder, Prof. Lowell Bergman and IRP Managing Editor, John Temple, were the film’s executive producers. Alums Loi Almeron (’16) and Kathleen Seccombe (’15) were the film’s associate producers.
Various alums from the J-School worked on the film: The IRP’s Zachary Stauffer (’08) was one of the film’s directors of photography. Alums Steve Fisher (’14) and Melina Tupa (’16) contributed reporting and field producing. Nadine Sebai (’16) provided research for the film. Dan Steiner (’16) provided assistant editing. Faviola Leyva (’16) and Marcos Martinez (’17) assisted with transcriptions and Spanish translations.