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Home > SPJ News > Pulliam Fellowship supports IndyStar columnist’s worldwide investigation into child sex trafficking

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Pulliam Fellowship supports IndyStar columnist’s worldwide investigation into child sex trafficking


1/30/2018


Jan. 30, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:
Todd Gillman, Pulliam Editorial Fellowship Selection Chairman, (202) 661-8421,
tgillman@dallasnews.com
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Communications Strategist, (317) 361- 4134,
jroyer@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – “More than 1 million children, according to the International Labour Organization, are exploited each year in the commercial sex trade,” Indianapolis Star columnist Tim Swarens writes in the first installment of a 10-part series called “EXPLOITED,” which begins today.

Through the support of a $75,000 Pulliam Fellowship from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, the educational foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists, Swarens spent more than a year investigating a lucrative business where children are abused with low risk to buyers or traffickers, despite tougher laws and heightened international awareness of the scourge. The series explores the cultural and economic forces that contribute to commercial and sexual exploitation.

Reporting for the series involved Swarens traveling more than 92,000 miles to report on five continents about a business that treats children like a commodity. “More than 1 million children, according to the International Labour Organization, are exploited each year in the commercial sex trade,” Swarens writes in the first installment of the series.

Swarens also brought in former Indianapolis Colt and University of Notre Dame punter Hunter Smith to write and record a song for the project. The Hunter Smith Band’s creation, “Take You Home,” is “a song that recognizes the depravity of child trafficking... But it’s also a song about hope. A song that speaks to the work many people around the world are doing to ensure that children aren’t forgotten in the dark places of exploitation,” Swarens writes.

Columns and other content in the EXPLOITED project will include:

•“Who buys a child for sex? Otherwise ordinary men,” posting at 6 a.m. EST today.
•“'The smile on our face is fake,’” posting at 6 a.m. EST Thursday.
•“The trafficking victim who needs training wheels,” posting at 6 a.m. EST Feb. 6.
•“Boys – the silent victims of sex trafficking,” posting at 6 a.m. EST Feb. 8.
•“'It lights up the brain like crack’: Why men buy sex,” posting at 6 a.m. EST Feb. 13.
•“These are the ‘choices’ that lead girls into sex work,” posting at 6 a.m. EST Feb. 15.
•“Where sex trafficking and toxic masculinity collide,” posting at 6 a.m. EST Feb. 20.
•“Animals don’t do to their offspring what we as humans do to our children,” posting at 6 a.m. EST Feb. 22.
•“In a Mumbai brothel, with a 5-year-old boy,” posting at 6 a.m. EST Feb. 27.
•“The police harassed me enough to save my life,” posting at 6 a.m. EST March 1.

Content, once posted, can be found at indystar.com/Exploited

Swarens, opinion director/columnist at the IndyStar, is the 2016 recipient of Fellowship. The Fellowship awards $75,000 to an outstanding editorial writer or columnist to help broaden his or her journalistic horizons and knowledge of the world. The annual award can be used to cover the cost of study, research and/or travel in any field. The Fellowship results in editorials and other writings, including books.

Google, Eli Lilly and Co., and Indiana Wesleyan University provided additional support for this project.

The Society first offered the Fellowship in 1977, when Nina Pulliam provided funding for the program. It honors Mrs. Pulliam’s husband, one of the original members of the Society and publisher of The Indianapolis Star, The Indianapolis News, The Arizona Republic and The Phoenix Gazette.

Farah Stockman, former columnist and editorial writer for the Boston Globe, received the 2014 Fellowship and went on to earn a Pulitzer Prize for her series that explored race relations in her city and beyond. Rochelle Riley, a columnist for the Detroit Free Press, is the 2017 recipient and is studying the effect of trauma and a toxic environment on children’s learning.

Deadline for entrants for the 2018 Pulliam Fellowship is June 21.

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund, or give to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation is a public foundation dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. The SDX Foundation supports educational and professional needs of journalists and journalism students. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Give to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

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