by Anne Keehn

There are more slaves today than ever in history. Yet, the issue of modern-day slavery has not yet cracked mainstream discourse the way we’d like. So we are always heartened to see when intelligent, creative people use innovative ways to raise awareness about what we see as the human rights issue of our time.

Two graduate students from Stanford University—Fulbright Fellow Olga Trusova and comics-journalist Dan Archer, a 2010 recipient of a John S. Knight Fellowship and instructor at Stanford’s prestigeous graphic novel project—have teamed up to create Borderland, a 36-page comic book depicting seven real life stories about modern day slavery.

Olga, a Ukrainian native, spent a year traveling through Eastern Europe to collect first-person narratives from human trafficking survivors. These stories were then visually interpreted by Dan Archer. The result is a spectacular piece of art. The project has gained the support of International Organization for Migration, who will print and distribute copies of the comic to 136 schools in Ukraine.

On their website, the creators of the comic say, “The project began with a belief that as consumers of various goods and services, people should be aware of where those come from and at what cost. The U.S. government has tremendous influence on foreign governments and their policies, therefore it is important to bring you, the reader, into the picture, so that when time comes you can influence your government.”

You can help fund this project by donating through the micro-financing site Kickstarter.


Anne Keehn has been involved in anti-slavery work since 2006. She was managing editor at Shepard Fairey’s Swindle magazine, community manager at social media website Mahalo, and was media volunteer at the L.A.-based direct services organization the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking. Currently, she works with Free the Slaves, where she is the founder and editor of their blog, FTSBlog, where this article originally appeared.

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  1. Amazing work, Olga and Dan. In Brazil the slavery is still in the poor communities of the countries. We’re in the same fight. regards, Gabriela

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