Comic Book "EVELINA" - Harnessing the Storytelling Power of Comic Books to Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking
How can a comic book change the world? "Evelina" is a Japanese-style manga comic book which we are creating for teenage girls and their families in Mexico, to warn them about the dangers of human trafficking. We're Kickstarting to refine, print and distribute copies of "Evelina" to high school teachers all over Mexico. The teachers got preview copies of the 36-page "Evelina" at human trafficking workshops in Mexico City, and they've requested 50,000 copies to use in school to reach hundreds of thousands of students. This is how a comic book can change the world!
"Evelina" employs comic book reality to tell an exciting, powerful story: Evelina falls for a neighbor's stories about great-paying jobs in America, only to learn first-hand the lies and cruelty of those who traffic for profit.
Support our Kickstarter to get your own copies of "Evelina" (in translated English or Mexican Spanish), and also to send "Evelina" to these teachers and schools in Mexico for communities directly affected by human trafficking.
WHY CREATE A COMIC BOOK ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING?
Human trafficking is modern day slavery. It is one of the most lucrative crimes around the world along with arms and drug trafficking. More than 600,000 people every year are trafficked worldwide to enslavement in factories, brothels, as house maids or even as child brides. We are creating the Evelina comic book to tell this story.
Many people confuse human trafficking with human smuggling, which is the smuggling of undocumented workers. Victims of human trafficking, in contrast are often enticed with marriage promises or false job opportunities only to find out that they are sold to be slaves or prostitutes. Sometimes, they are just kidnapped off the street.
THE POWER OF COMIC BOOKS TO EDUCATE FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
Comics have long been recognized as effective media for getting the word out and raising popular awareness. In Japan, the appeal of picture-driven story-telling in the form of manga cuts across all generations and reading levels. There are even manga forms of serious subjects from Shakespeare and classical history to science, mathematics, and philosophy. These printed comic books are a particularly powerful form of media when there is limited access to books or regular Internet connections, since they can be passed around among friends, families, and school classrooms.
THE CREATION OF 14-YEAR-OLD EVELINA
We created the character of Evelina for Mexican teenagers to learn about the risks and perils of human trafficking. In the story, 14-year-old Evelina is growing up in a small village in Mexico. Evelina follows her neighbor Esperanza to the United States, dreaming about better economic and social opportunities. On arriving in the U.S., Evelina soon learns that Esperanza was not telling the truth. Readers learn through the experiences of Evelina to be skeptical of promises that may be too good to be true.
WHO IS MANGA ARTIST YUSAKU EMOTO?
Japanese comic book artist Yusaku Emoto lives in Himeji, Japan, famous for the finest example of a feudal castle in Japan. A talented art student, Yusaku contributed his work with Cause Vision as part of his training to become a professional manga artist. Yusaku's graphics employ typical tropes of Japanese manga—including exaggerated facial expressions, Kakimoji (sound effects in stylized text such as "vrooom") and Koma (frame)—to tell Evelina's story in an accessible way that brings the text to life even for beginning readers in Spanish.
Yusaku worked with a story in Mexican Spanish by Mexican-American social worker Maria Gomez-Murphy and fine-tuned his depiction of Mexican life as well as the pervasive social problem of human trafficking across the U.S.-Mexican border. The result is a page-turner of a comic book that is irresistible to our target audience of girls and their families in Mexico.
PARTNERING WITH SCHOOLS TO DISTRIBUTE EVELINA IN MEXICO
Our preview of Evelina is already a hit with women's centers and other shelters for Mexicans on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border where we travelled and worked with local anti-trafficking groups to distribute preview copies of Evelina, including in Nogales and Juarez. As a result of this success, Cause Vision was invited to a workshop held by CEIDES, an anti-trafficking non-profit in Mexico City, where high school teachers from around the country received anti-trafficking training earlier this year. The teachers were so impressed with the Evelina preview that we received written requests from 380 high school teachers (representing more than 100 schools across Mexico) for 50,000 copies of Evelina to use and distribute in classrooms.
KICKSTARTING TO SPREAD EVELINA'S STORY
Every purchase of Evelina either in original Spanish or translated English, will enable us to print and distribute Evelina to Mexican schools, so we thank you for help of any size!
For those who pledge $1,500 or more, Evelina artist Yusaku Emoto will draw your caricature from a photograph or online profile.
How will you know this Kickstarter project is a success? When you see the final and Evelina comic book and check back in the coming months to see pictures of "Evelina" reaching new audiences across Mexico, advancing the fight against human trafficking through the power of comic book storytelling.
Natsuko Utsumi, Founder, Cause Vision
EVELINA: Yusaku Emoto, Artist; Maria Comez-Murphy, Writer.
KICKSTARTER VIDEO: Olenka Polak, Presenter, Scriptwriter, Video Editor; Roger Grange, Director of Photography; Daniel Abse, Contributing Writer, Contributing Video Editor.
CAUSE VISION: Natsuko Utsumi, Founder; Nathaniel Wice, Board Member.
Risks and challenges
Our "Evelina" comic book has been through a test printing of a preview version, along with test distribution of the preview version to high school teachers in Mexico, as discussed above. Our main risks are creative problems with the finalization of the comic book creative, a printing mishap in Mexico, or a problem with shipping to individual schools, as we may sometimes rely on the postal service in Mexico. We feel confident about the creative process, and payments for printing depend on satisfactory delivery of print jobs. Also we will print extra copies so we are able to replace copies lost in the mail.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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