Ladydrawers: The Somaly Problem

Wednesday, 16 July 2014 09:42 By Anne Elizabeth Moore and Leela Corman, Truthout | Graphic Journalism
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LadydrawersThe Ladydrawers' yearlong investigation into gender, labor and cultural production - "Our Fashion Year" - has unraveled the threads that bind the international garment trade to international anti-sex trafficking NGOs. Mainstream media recently witnessed the unraveling for itself with something we call the Somaly Problem - when a world-leading activist on sex trafficking gets caught in a series of lies. This strip, called "The Somaly Problem," shows that the problem does not really lie in one woman's trustworthiness. However, it exists in a vast network of media makers, celebrities and professional do-gooders with surprisingly imperialist agendas. This strip is by Leela Corman and Anne Elizabeth Moore.

It's only the latest in our yearlong series, which you can read in its entirety here, including "Fast Fashion," "Let's Go Shopping" and "The Business of Thrift" (with Julia Gfrörer); and "Zoned," "Red Tape" and "Outta Sight (Out of Mind)" (with Melissa Mendes), and Ellen Lindner's "It's the Money, Honey" and "Out of the Factories Part 1" and "Out of the Factories Part 2" (also with Melissa Gira Grant). Leela Corman's first strip with us was "The Grey Area." Next month, we'll look at why corporate funding of human trafficking is so popular, and with whom - with a return by Melissa Mendes! Then we'll wrap up the series in September with Corman's final contribution (and start working on the book).

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Leela Corman

Leela Corman is an illustrator, cartoonist and Middle Eastern dancer. She studied painting, printmaking and illustration at Massachusetts College of Art and won a Xeric Grant for her first graphic novel, Queen’s Day. Her second, Subway Series, was published by Alternative Comics. Her latest, Unterzakhn, a graphic novel set in the tenements, brothels and vaudeville houses of the Lower East Side at the turn of the last century, was published by Schocken/Pantheon and has been nominated for The Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Eisner Award, and Le Prix Artemisia in France. Her short comics have run in Tablet Magazine, Symbolia, and The OC Weekly. In 2014, her comic "Yahrzeit" won a silver medal from the Society Of Illustrators.

Anne Elizabeth Moore

Anne Elizabeth Moore is a USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow, Weinberg Fellow at the Newberry Library, a Fulbright scholar, and the author of several award-winning non-fiction books including Unmarketable (The New Press, 2007) and Cambodian Grrrl (2011). Co-editor and publisher of now-defunct Punk Planet and the founding editor of the Best American Comics series from Houghton Mifflin, Moore teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She contributes criticism to The New Inquiry, The Baffler, N+1p and many others and writes a monthly comic strip for Truthout called Ladydrawers on gender, labor, and culture. Her latest book from Cantankerous Titles, New Girl Law, was called “A post-empirical, proto-fourth-wave feminist memoir” by Bust Magazine.

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