We report on an initial ethnographic exploration of the situation of sex-trafficking survivors in Nepal. In the course of studying trafficking survivors in a protected-living situation created by a non-governmental organization in Nepal, we adapted photo-elicitation to hear the voices of the survivors by making the technique more communal. Bringing sociality to the forefront of the method reduced the pressure on survivors to assert voices as individuals, allowing them to speak. We make three contributions to research. First, we propose a communal form of photo-elicitation as a method to elicit values in sensitive settings. Second, we present the complex circumstances of the survivors as they undergo rehabilitation and move towards life with a “new normal”. Third, our work adds to HCI and CSCW literature on understanding specific concerns of trafficking survivors and aims to inform designs that can support reintegration of survivors in society. The values that the survivors hold and their notion of future opportunities suggest possession of limited but important socialcapital in some domains that could be leveraged to aid reintegration.
Recommended citation: Gautam, A., Shrestha, C., Tatar, D., & Harrison, S. (2018). Social Photo-Elicitation: The Use of Communal Production of Meaning to Hear a Vulnerable Population. In Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 2, 56.