Five Ted Talks About Human TraffickingTED talks about human trafficking help to shine a spotlight on the issues from how to spot examples of trafficking to how to end it. These talks can be a powerful educational tool not only for individuals but also in settings like the classroom and the workplace. Here are five TED Talks about human trafficking.

5 TED Talks about Human Trafficking

  1. “Human Trafficking is All Around You. This is How it Works.” In this talk, Noy Thrupkaew discusses the behind-the-scenes world of human trafficking and its prevalence in ordinary places of business such as nail salons. She shows the human faces behind the exploited labor that feeds global consumerism and breaks down how human trafficking works all around the world.
  2. “Escaping the Pain of Human Trafficking.” Markie Dell is a human trafficking survivor who shares her experience as well as her road to recovery. Dell also talks about the unusual advice from a friend that helped her to heal and reclaim her life.
  3. “Three Ways Businesses Can Fight Sex Trafficking.” Attorney Nikki Clifton points out three ways businesses can fight sex trafficking. She reveals to the audience how sex trafficking happens in the open more than people think. It can occur online, in the middle of the workday or while using company equipment and resources. As she says, this puts companies in a powerful position to mobilize employees and educate them to stop sex trafficking. Hiring sex trafficking survivors and setting clear policies are just some of the ways she says businesses can stop sex trafficking.
  4. “The Fight Against Sex Slavery.” Sunitha Krishnan spends her time leading powerful discussions surrounding the multi-million dollar global sex slavery industry. A longtime ally of sex traffickers, she tells the stories of children of slaves and advocates for a more humane reform to helping survivors rebuild their lives.
  5. “I Was Human Trafficked for 10 Years. We Can Do More to Stop It.” Barbara Amaya courageously tells her story of being human trafficked when she was 12 years old. After running away from home to escape her abusive family, Amaya was “rescued” by a family that locked her into human trafficking for 10 years. Since escaping in 2012, she has raised awareness about the sexual exploitation of children and domestic sex trafficking. Amaya is an anti-trafficking advocate, speaker, trainer, author and survivor leader in the movement to end sex and human trafficking.

By taking just a few minutes to watch these TED talks about human trafficking, people can do something today to prevent human trafficking. Sharing their talks on social media is also a great way to continue the movement of ending human trafficking through education.

Emily Joy Oomen
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Danger of a Single Story Notes
We are all guilty of perpetuating stereotypes that create a single story, whether it’s intentional or not. In “Danger of a Single Story,” novelist Chimamanda Adichie puts it best: “Show people as one thing over and over again, and that’s what they become.”

In this TED Talk, the Nigerian author warns that we risk a very critical and very cultural misunderstanding when we forget that everyone’s lives and identities are composed of many overlapping stories.


What is the Danger of a Single Story?


“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.”

When we hear the same story over and over again, it becomes the only story we ever believe. And this stands especially true for the story of Africa.

Too often do we hear this version—Africa, the poorest “country” in the world where only rural landscapes exist and where people live in terror amongst wild animals.

Too often do we treat Africa as one narrative, one we have fostered over generations and generations, becoming so institutionalized that even those who graduated from universities will sometimes slip and refer to Africa as a country or their language as “African.”

This is the danger of a single story, and it brings to mind a quote by American writer Alvin Toffler: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

We must learn to unlearn these perpetuated stereotypes in order to allow ourselves to see that there is more than this one narrative to Africa—to anything, really.

Adichie’s novels are inspired by Nigerian history, telling the forgotten stories that generations of Westerners fail to repeat.

However, she reminds us that we must not only seek diverse perspectives, we must also tell our own stories, ones that only we can tell about our own personal experiences.

What she hopes to follow are the first signs of crumbling of clichés and stereotypes, something that’s long overdue but never too late a process to begin.

Adichie’s “Danger of a Single Story” is one of the most powerfully crafted speeches ever given, one where every single word counts.

“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.”


Hear Chimamanda Adichie’s story.


Chelsee Yee

Sources: TED Talks, CNN
Photo: BBC

TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, is a global set of conferences owned by the private nonprofit organization Sapling Foundation. Under the slogan “ideas worth spreading,” TED events are held throughout the world, addressing a variety of topics, from science and culture to health, medicine, and global development. Here are some of the most memorable quotes made by TED speakers on the topic of poverty and development.

1.       “You don’t wake up one day no longer a racist. It takes generations to tear that intuition, that DNA, out of a soul of a people.”

Lawrence Lessig: We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim

2.       “I’d grown up thinking that a [sanitary toilet] was my right, when in fact it’s a privilege — 2.5 billion people worldwide have no adequate toilet.”

Rose George: Let’s talk crap. Seriously.

3.       “Child mortality [since 2000 is] down by 2.65 million a year. That’s a rate of 7,256 children’s lives saved each day. … It drives me nuts that most people don’t seem to know this news.”

Bono: The good news on poverty (Yes, there’s good news)

4.       “What you do [to provide better aid is] you shut up. You never arrive in a community with any ideas.”

Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!

5.       “The challenge of development: abject poverty surrounded by corruption.”

Sanjay Pradhan: How open data is changing international aid

6.       “I have never met a villager who does not want a vote.”

Rory Stewart: Why democracy matters

7.       “You don’t have to get rich to have [fewer] children. It has happened across the world.”

Hans Rosling: Religions and babies

8.       “We get so little news about the developing world that we often forget that there are literally millions of people out there struggling to change things to be fairer, freer, more democratic, less corrupt.”

Alex Steffen: The route to a sustainable future

9. “Connectivity is productivity — whether it’s in a modern office or an underdeveloped village.”

Iqbal Quadir: How mobile phones can fight poverty

10. “We’ve seen how distributed networks, big data and information can transform society. I think it’s time for us to apply them to water.”

Sonaar Luthra: Meet the Water Canary

11. “Birth control has almost completely and totally disappeared from the global health agenda, and the victims of this paralysis are the people of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.”

Melinda Gates: Let’s put birth control back on the agenda

12. “Human development, not secularization, is what’s key to women’s empowerment in the transforming Middle East.”

Dalia Mogahed: The attitudes that sparked Arab Spring

13. “The United Street Sellers Republic — the USSR — [would be] the second-largest economy in the world after the United States.”

Robert Neuwirth: The power of the informal economy

14. “We need to deliver [mental] health care using whoever is available and affordable in our local communities.”

Vikram Patel: Mental health for all by involving all

15. “It was the buildings [in Haiti], not the earthquake, that killed 220,000 people, that injured 330,000, that displaced 1.3 million people, that cut off food and water and supplies for an entire nation.”

Peter Haas: Haiti’s disaster of engineering

– Nayomi Chibana
Feature Writer 


Read global poverty quotes.

Sources: TED, Reddit
Photo: Lingholic

Movies that Matter, Jeff Skoll

Highlight Quote: “One is the gap in opportunity – this gap that President Clinton last night called uneven, unfair and unsustainable – and, out of that, comes poverty and illiteracy and disease and all these evils that we see around us. But perhaps the other, bigger gap is what we call the hope gap. And someone, at some point, came up with this very bad idea that an ordinary individual couldn’t make a difference in the world. And I think that’s just a horrible thing. And so chapter one really begins today, with all of us, because within each of us is the power to equal those opportunity gaps and to close the hope gaps.”

Many TED talks focus on the real, the practical and the pragmatic – on harnessing the abstract powers of good and common sense of humanity in a real life way. Yet many of these talks can leave us, as ordinary citizens feeling somewhat inadequate and unable to make an impact. Jeff Skoll, producer of films including An Inconvenient Truth, Murderball, North Country, Good Night and Good Luck, and Syriana, gives us a talk about how he, as an ordinary citizen, worked his way slowly to Hollywood. Once there, he was able to make a difference by inspiring and spreading awareness through films.

Mosquitos, Malaria and Education, Bill Gates

Highlight Quote: “But I – I’m optimistic. I think people are beginning to recognize how important this is, and it really can make a difference for millions of lives, if we get it right. I only had time to frame those two problems. There’s a lot more problems like that — AIDS, pneumonia – I can just see you’re getting excited, just at the very name of these things. And the skill sets required to tackle these things are very broad. You know, the system doesn’t naturally make it happen. Governments don’t naturally pick these things in the right way. The private sector doesn’t naturally put its resources into these things.”

Perhaps the world’s most recognizable philanthropist, Bill Gates is characteristically shrewd, practical, clear, forward thinking and unexpectedly funny. By asking us to consider how to solve two big problems: malaria and education – Gates shows us how businesslike thinking and determination can solve widespread social problems. In only 18 minutes, Gates gives us a TED talk that is small in stature but big in ideas.

Aid versus Trade, Ngozi Okongo-Iweala

Highlight Quote: “But we are talking about “Africa: the Next Chapter” because we are looking at the old and the present chapter – that we’re looking at, and saying it’s not such a good thing. The picture I showed you before, and this picture, of drought, death and disease is what we usually see. What we want to look at is “Africa: the Next Chapter,” and that’s this: a healthy, smiling, beautiful African. And I think it’s worth remembering what we’ve heard through the conference right from the first day, where I heard that all the important statistics have been given – about where we are now, about how the continent is doing much better. And the importance of that is that we have a platform to build on.”

In 2007, Okongo-Iweala, the former finance minister of Nigeria and director at the World Bank, had the unenviable task of summarizing four days of TED talks. In 22 minutes, she draws from personal experience, global leaders, real-life examples and observations to illustrate the lessons from the conference regarding effective aid, morality, and the pitfalls in the current methods of development assistance.

Cheetahs vs. Hippos, George Ayitteh

Highlight Quote: “Africa is more than a tragedy, in more ways than one. There’s another enduring tragedy, and that tragedy is that there are so many people, so many governments, so many organizations who want to help the people in Africa. They don’t understand. Now, we’re not saying don’t help Africa. Helping Africa is noble. But helping Africa has been turned into a theater of the absurd. It’s like the blind leading the clueless.”

Many ask the question, why is Africa still in the state it is, with so much money being poured into it and so much work being done by so many different organizations? In this talk, Ayitteh addresses some of the problems in development; some coming from Africa itself and others with foreign sources – and more importantly, how to address them. Ayitteh’s talk can be applied to a number of other scenarios and teach us that aid is a practice that needs close monitoring and attention in order to be effective.

– Farahnaz Mohammed

5 TED Talks in 5 MinutesTED Talks have become a breeding ground for ingenuity, passion, ideas and intelligence. A meeting place of the world’s best, bravest and most forward-thinking minds, TED talks offer the entire world the ability to listen and participate in the global conversation on how we better the world. Here, for those who have little time, are 5 Ted talks that offer a powerful punch of inspiration in less than 5 minutes.


Asher Hassan’s Message of Peace from Afghanistan – Asher Hassan

In this short but potent TED talk, Asher Hassan manages to obliterate our image of the now ravaged Pakistan as a place of poverty, misery and Islamic fundamentalism to show a hopeful, resilient and entirely human face to the country. Through a series of striking photographs, showing vendors selling bags, a displaced internal refugee child, spools of brightly colored rainbow spools of thread. Hassan’s subjects are the individuals who get lost in Pakistan sold to us by the media, and the ones who are most affected by our action or inaction in their country.


Selling Condoms in the Congo – Amy Lockwood

Amy Lockwood needs four minutes and seventeen seconds to illustrate an all-too-important phenomenon that causes aid programs to fail: not targeting efforts towards the group, but focusing on the feelings on the donor. In the Congo, sex workers use very few of the free condoms that aid agencies provide but would use the generic, priced ones sold. Lockwood, as a marketing professional, asked herself why. Her talk offers a simple but powerful tweak in the way we approach aid that could make a world of difference.


Photos That Changed the World – Jonathan Klein

The man at the head of Getty Images, the industry’s largest and most quality bank of photography and imagery, gives a short talk on the power of photographs in provoking action. Using iconic images from history like the Hindenburg explosion, ‘Kissing the War Goodbye’ and mass graves of the Holocaust to today’s most controversial photographs, such as torture in Abu Ghraib, military war injuries and slaughtered gorillas lying crucified on bamboo poles, Klein illustrated how a picture can be worth more than a thousand words in an age full of discourse and short on action.


Escaping the Khmer Rouge – Sophal Ear

Not a big ideas talk, but a heartfelt personal story, Sophal Ear speaks of his escape from Cambodia during the country’s horrific political turmoil. Today, Ear leads research on post-conflict countries and assists in the development, reinforcing the fact that refugees are more than statistics, but brave, resilient lives worth saving.


How I Built a Windmill – William Kamkwamba

One of the most inspiring talks on TED, this talk is a Q&A session with William Kamkwamba, from a small village in Malawi. At 14, he saw how to build a windmill in a library book. In his words, “I tried it, and I made it.” Prompted along by TED speaker, William’s unassuming ingenuity in attempting to improve his village’s access to electricity and water is heartwarming and incredible.

– Farahnaz Mohammed

Sources: TED

Leslie Dodson: Her TED Talk on Do Not Misrepresent Africa
Leslie Dodson has reported throughout the world for Reuters, NBC and CNN, among others. She has worked extensively in South America covering politics, economics, and international finance organizations.

In her TED Talk, she talks about how to present stories objectively and fairly to the rest of the world when we get information from Africa and how important that is. At the end of her talk, she stressed, “Africa is not a country, it is a continent with 54 countries”.

– Caiqing Jin(Kelly)

Source:TED Talk

Mitchell Besser’s TED Talk on Mothers Helping Mothers Fight HIVIn South Africa, Mitchell Besser tapped a new resource for healthcare: mothers themselves. The program he started, mothers2mothers, train new mothers to educate and support other moms. Mothers2mothers employs HIV-positive moms themselves to complement the work of doctors and nurses. After a two-month training, mentor mothers work with other moms with HIV to help them understand how to keep from transmitting HIV to their babies. In his TED talk, he suggests that doctors, nurses and mothers should work together, and mothers should help each other, building up the communities to fight HIV together and after all, mothers care about mothers.“There is hope, hope that one day we shall win this fight against HIV and AIDS.”

– Caiqing Jin (Kelly)

Source: TED Talk

Bono’s TED Talk has compacted twenty-five years of anti-poverty campaigning into a ten minute presentation for a TED conference which was held this past February. The result is a passionate call for people to stay involved and stay informed about all the great work that is and has been happening in the fight against extreme poverty.

Much of the progress that has been made does not make the news but Bono sees how people, technology, and the sharing of information is turning inequality on its head; sighting the Arab Spring as a momentous shift in history. He emphasizes how facts change minds and hearts, bring new awareness and action, bring better action, and bring change in a phenomenon he names “factivism.”

Here are some facts. Since 2000:

  • Eight million AIDS patients have been receiving retroviral drugs
  • Malaria deaths have been cut in some countries by 75%
  • Child mortality rate of children under the age of 5 is down by 2.65 million deaths per year
  • 7,256 children’s lives are saved each day

The global rate of extreme poverty has declined from 43% in 1990 to 21% in 2010.

The population of people living on less than $1.25 per day has been cut in half in the last 20 years, and the facts show that this extreme poverty can be cut to virtually zero within a generation — worldwide. Bono encourages everyone to continue their efforts for lasting progress by:

  • Telling politicians not to cut foreign aid funding
  • Join campaigns that make sure all natural resources (and their profits) are shared with the people of that country
  • Continue citizen participation by demanding transparency of government spending (anti-corruption)
  • Become a “factivist” – share the facts with others about successes and hardships within global inequality

– Mary Purcell