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#WeWillNeverForget #MarchForOurLives

Alyssa Alhadeff

Scott Beigel

Martin Duque Anguiano

Nicholas Dworet

Aaron Feis

Jaime Guttenberg

Christopher Hixon

Luke Hoyer

Cara Loughran

Gina Montalto

Joaquin Oliver

Alaina Petty

Meadow Pollack

Helena Ramsay

Alexander Schachter

Carmen Schentrup

Peter Wang

As many across the country and globe gear up for the Super Bowl by making chilli, buying beer,  planning parties and getting partisan, at 3 Generations we spend the week before thinking of new ways to talk about domestic sex trafficking. We have been doing this for the last 8 years. Sex trafficking happens every day in every city across the nation, but we know more children will be trafficked into the host city around the hoopla of Super Bowl than any other weekend throughout the year.

This year Donald Trump gifted (or was it nauseated?) us with prolonged drivel about “uman traffickers”. He took the whisper of truth and turned it into a perversion of the bona fide human rights problem facing hundreds of thousands of women and children in this country. When I first heard his screed I laughed, it was so preposterous. It was a description of guerrilla pimping on steroids: kidnapped women with duct-taped mouths,  unable to breathe being trafficking across the wall-less border. But, as is inevitable with Trump, I had to listen to his words again and again until finally I got mad. What Trump has done, yet again, is taken a complex issue and bastardized it for political gain: in the service of his wall. I would go so far as to say he doesn’t give a damn about human trafficking: sex or labor. His only interest is in fueling his racist anti-immigration narrative. I am coming to believe that even Ivanka Trump, who made trafficking one of her “signature issues,” is disingenuous. It feels as though Stephen Miller has proffered a couple of hot button issues to spin into a hyperbolic narrative to further a different agenda.

This is worse than ignoring an issue. It is cruel. It re-exploits the already exploited and vulnerable.  And it has a pernicious regressive effect on the committed and sincere experts who work tirelessly to educate the public about the scourge that is domestic human trafficking.

We made our documentary, Tricked, to show that the sex trafficking of children is a serious domestic problem in the USA. We did so because It’s important to come to grips with reality if we want to combat human trafficking. We need purchasers of commercial sex to understand that trafficking victims don’t have duct tape residue around their mouths: they look just like our children, our sisters, our brothers, us. The vast majority have never visited the southern border. They were born and raised here.

So we dedicate this short video to all the amazing people and not for profits who work hard to fight sex trafficking in this country. To name a few: My Life My Choice, Gems, The Polaris Project, S.O.A.P, ECPAT USA, Love 146, Shared Hope and Truckers Against Trafficking.

And may the best team win on Sunday.


-Jane Wells, Executive Director and Founder

She was a 20-year-old beauty from a village in Central Vietnam. The opportunity of a lifetime was days away. She had made her way to Hanoi where a friend of a relative had met her and helped with the complicated visa process at the US Embassy. Her dream of going to America and becoming a well-paid beautician was only a visa interview and a plane ride away. What happened next shattered her dreams but also saved her life.*

8 years ago, when we started fighting human trafficking, most Americans who were even aware of the extent of human trafficking understood it as a cross-border problem: As something that happened overseas. Our goal was to raise awareness and action about domestic trafficking with a focus on young people and children. We made a feature documentary, Tricked, which still streams on Netflix, and a series of short documentaries and videos. We explained what constitutes human trafficking at home, among our daughters and sons. Today, far more Americans recognize that much domestic prostitution is more pernicious than “boys will be boys” and how frequently it meets the legal definition of human trafficking. We have always underscored that it is a human rights crisis. We have made strides.

500 miles away in the consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, a consular officer was trying to authenticate the story of an unsophisticated man applying for a first-time visa to visit a friend in Long Island. The US-based friend was a wealthy oil industry executive who had apparently come from the same village as the applicant. In another interview room, an applicant was seeking a replacement visa for a new passport. The officer sensed that this young man, with 2 phones, a tall story about a burned passport, and a travel history that made him a member of the million mile club, may be part of something bigger. Quickly, he traced the IP address from which his verification documents had been emailed. It was the same one as the man headed to Long Island. On a hunch he next contacted a buddy at the Embassy. Did they have anyone there with documents from the same IP address? Minutes later the word came back, yes they did, at that very moment — a 20-year-old girl heading to New York City. She was taken aside for questioning. What was uncovered over the next few days was a sophisticated sex trafficking and organ smuggling ring. The girl was saved from a life of indentured sex slavery in New York City and the man who was to receive $9000 for a kidney was denied a visa but still has two kidneys. The young man with the burner phone and the burnt passport is in prison. 3 visas unearthed a sophisticated trans global human trafficking ring.

We can now add organ donation to the horror that is human trafficking. It is the desire to escape poverty, economic insecurity and lack of safety at home that allow innocent people to fall into the hands of traffickers and smugglers. Commoditization of other people’s lives is the currency of trafficking. Pure greed, coupled with with complete antipathy, are what survivors of smuggling have described to us time and time again. The moral arguments about how to lift billions of people out of poverty are far more complex. If we are not actively fighting abject poverty overseas at source, are we not aiding and abetting human traffickers — whether it is at the southern border or in Vietnam? Foreign policy that encourages aid is a major preventative. If you don’t want immigrants from Guatemala seeking a safer life here, then try and make things better there. Would you sell a kidney to a stranger to educate your children? Our laws say doing so is illegal, but does that truly make us a more civilized society? Why is OK to donate a kidney but not to sell one? This is what we are thinking about today on National Human Trafficking Day.

*certain identifying details in this story have been changed


–Jane Wells, Executive Director and Founder

Before joining 3G, I spent a year working full-time as an unpaid intern in Washington, DC. I spent August-December working in a Senator’s Capitol Hill office, and January-May working in the personal office of a supremely popular and highly regarded former politician. In both positions, I worked eight hour days, Monday-Friday. I received $300 from the Senator and $0 from the former politician. I felt extremely honored to be working under my principles, surrounded by brilliant people doing vitally important work, and have the opportunity to contribute to causes close to my heart and see democracy function before my eyes. I’m grateful for the recommendation letters, the lessons learned, friends made, and the two new blurbs on my resume. However, neither a resume nor recommendation letter can cover the financial burdens of living in Washington, DC, which often costs upwards of $6000 for a semester. During my time in DC, I met many young people coming from wealthy, connected families who could easily afford to live in one of the world’s most expensive cities for 2-5 months. I knew two people who could not, including myself.

Without the connections and networking opportunities that come with an internship, finding a job in politics is exceptionally difficult. Students from low-income and working-class families often may not be able to cover the costs of transportation, housing, food, and wardrobe without any salary or stipend. Therefore, access to opportunities on the Hill, and in politics in general, are largely limited to students who come from wealthy backgrounds, further deteriorating the cultural, racial, and socioeconomic diversity in our representation. Internships must be available to all qualified candidates in order to increase the representation of marginalized communities.

In a New York Times article, Internships Are Not a Privilege, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, asks his readers to, “consider…how a plum internship may alter a young person’s career trajectory. While some students take a summer job in food service to pay the bills, others can afford to accept unpaid jobs at high-profile organizations, setting them on a more lucrative path.” Students below a certain socioeconomic level are unable to reap the benefits an internship can offer, both in valuable work experience and networking opportunities, and can be effectively excluded from advancing in their field. In a Washington Monthly article, When Congress Paid its Interns, Saahil Desai, digital editor at Washington Monthly, states that, “By failing to pay interns, Congress not only dissuades children of the non-affluent from becoming interns, but also limits the talent pool from which it draws most of its paid staff…This pinching of the talent pipeline has another downstream effect: fewer minorities in the intern pool—a direct consequence of not offering payment—means fewer minorities in the ranks of the paid staff.”

At best, an unpaid internship is dispiriting and frustrating. For me and many others, it places enormous strain, financially and mentally, on you and your family. In the fall, I lived in southern Maryland and commuted two hours each way to avoid DC housing costs. I had to leave every morning by 6:45am and usually didn’t get back home until 7pm. Transportation fees and stress – along with having to pay for an expensive dog-walker since I was gone all day – forced me to seek housing in DC for the spring. I was lucky enough to avoid paying an average rent by finding kind-hearted individuals to house me and my dog for greatly reduced rates. Most students don’t have this privilege and must pay thousands of dollars for a DC or Virginia apartment. Even though I was able to avoid high rent, I still had to cover transportation, food, medical costs, and a new wardrobe. Working as a delivery person at night and on weekends, my family and I were just able to pull it off, but it was an extremely stressful, overwhelming period of my life. I frequently went to sleep without eating all day in order to cover my Metro fare the next morning. At the end of my second internship in May, I had lost nearly 12% of my body weight and was experiencing a multitude of health problems, including recurring migraines and acute, unexplained nerve damage.

I consider myself to be skilled, efficient, and hardworking, with a passion to help others through enacting transformative and progressive change. I’m committed to advocating for equal rights and opportunities, reproductive justice, farm animal welfare, criminal justice reform, and more. For as long as I can remember, helping others, both humans and animals, has been my primary passion. After a year spent working unpaid for the very people who are elected to do just that – be a public servant – I felt used and undervalued by the system I so desperately wanted to enter.

On Monday, June 25th, the Senate passed H.R. 5895, an appropriations bill that includes $5 million for Senate intern salaries, allocating approximately $50,000 per office. According to a 2017 congressional report by Pay Our Interns, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for paid internships on the Hill, only 32% of Senate Democrats and 51% of Senate Republicans pay their interns. In the House, a mere 4% of Democrats and 8% of Republicans pay their interns. H.R. 5895 is certainly a step in the right direction, but our nation’s fight for income equality remains. It is not a pleasant feeling to work for nothing and skip lunch when everyone around you is being paid.

This summer, as a 3G intern, I’m extremely grateful that we have always remained committed to paying our interns. Even as a nonprofit organization that relies entirely on generous donations, 3G understands the socioeconomic divides that arise from unpaid internships, and is proud to actively support institutional integrity. Jane Wells, our Executive Director, says it best: “for years, we have gratefully and proudly paid our interns. As an anti-slavery organization we cannot imagine not doing so.”


-Benah Stiewing, intern

In what world should it be normal that any woman or girl has zero control or say about what happens to her body? What world bestows upon a person the right to violate another? This world. This world, in its silence, says this is okay.

A week ago, while walking to work at 3G, I experienced something that I am always wary of, that has me looking around at most men on the street – that I am constantly on the lookout for. (And for any skeptics, I was wearing leggings, a huge sweater a jacket and glasses – not that it matters). I was walking by a man when he approached me, came inches from my face, and tried to kiss me – making sounds as he did so. Simple as that – so simple that no one noticed. In this moment, my heart started to beat out of my chest and my stomach dropped as I hurriedly kept walking. If you’re a male or a some sort of unicorn woman or anything in between that has not experienced this, you may ask me why. This seems so trivial.

First of all, no matter how small these acts may seem from the outside, they are incredibly violating in and of themselves. I did not ask this man, or the many others who have done similar things to women, to act in this way. I should be able to have control over whether or not someone would even have the impression of being able to kiss me. Or anything else for that matter. Emotionally and mentally, women should be unapologetically confident in their bodies and confident in the control they have over it: we are endowed that fundamental right. For any person to feel unsafe walking down the street and seemingly feel as if they have no control over their personal space is frightening, to say the least. Again, even in the most open of places, it is reiterated to me that I have no say and no control over whether or not someone can invade my body, invade my emotions, invade my very being. All of these seemingly minute instances chip away at you, until it is buried so deep you don’t know what you even feel anymore. We as women become so numb to what is now commonplace and engendered in what is now our culture.

Even more so, this emotional uneasiness reminds me of all the times that I’ve had zero physical control or say in what happens to me. So many times I can’t even count, the opposite sex has felt it is their right to take something from me or attempt to. Just because it’s been “okayed” by the good ol’ boys club that runs our world. Just because they can. Because we have been subjugated into thinking that we are lesser than, that we are vessels to take from – that this is merely “how it is”.

I myself have been in the presence of men who felt it was within their right to grab my thigh or pull at my dress.

I, like so many others in college, have written off encounters as simple drunken mishaps of the night when they really are in no way consensual (making a girl feel badly about saying no isn’t okay either).

I have been in incredibly unhealthy relationships, where I’ve been gaslighted and wildly unappreciated.

And I have been cat called, touched, accosted, and made to feel unsafe in so many ways, for so many years that I don’t remember when it began.

The degrees of these experiences, you may say, wildly varies. And it does. But let’s stop questioning that. Let’s stop asking “well what exactly happened?”, “what did he do to you?”, “was he drunk?” because truth be told, it doesn’t matter in the slightest. It’s this culture of masculinity, this culture that is toxic and far reaching – and in these instances, it demonstrates how pervasive it is and how it stretches into every facet of human interaction.

Still, this only continues to remind me of so many people – immigrants, Native Americans, Muslims, African Americans, the LGBTQ community, women of color, the students at Parkland High School and so many more – who have no control over so many aspects of their life. People who have far far less control than me. Shouldn’t we all be able to have an equal and fair say about what happens to our bodies and our lives? The values that we say we hold onto, as Americans, are in the darkness and to move forward and heal, they must be brought out.



-Jamie Brandel, Production/Research Manager

On December 14, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be voting on the repeal of net neutrality. We feel passionately that this is only one crucial political action being buried in the tsunami of news pouring out of the republican controlled federal government. Among these are a looming government shutdown, a tax bill with the potential to crash the economy, and a controversial special election for a vacant U.S. senate seat featuring an accused-pedodophile. All of this is taking place under the umbrella of Robert Mueller’s FBI investigation unveiling nonstop revelations into the relationship between key players of the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government.

Net neutrality may very well slip through the cracks. It is a vital aspect of American freedom and democracy, but there are essentially no tools available to fight its repeal. As an independent commission, the FCC does not answer to the American people. After commissioners are appointed by the president and approved by the senate, the FCC does not answer to the federal government. One of the few exceptions is if congress decides to implement a congressional resolution of disapproval, which seems severely unlikely and out of tune with republican objectives.

The message for people fighting against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act was simple — call your elected officials, show up at their offices, force them to hold town halls, etc. Avoiding the fatality of Net Neutrality seems hopeless in comparison. You can make a complaint to the FCC or urge your representatives to fight back against the commission; you can tweet #NetNeutrality or repost a Facebook image that illustrates what the internet would look like without it. You can do all of that and more, and yet the FCC has no concrete responsibility to value your thoughts on the matter.

The bigger problem — the one that the FCC is successfully capitalizing on — is that net neutrality is incredibly confusing for anyone who does not study or work in a technology field. This is not a generational issue. This is not an issue of ignorance. The fact is that watching “Mr. Robot” is sadly not enough to understand the complexities of the internet (although I like to think it makes me an expert). So, a true step we can take is spreading awareness of what Net Neutrality means and why it must be preserved.

Internet service providers (ISPs), operate within a heavily monopolized industry. Most communities only have one or two internet companies operating in their area, giving them little to no choice in who provides their internet. In 2015, President Obama imposed strict net neutrality rules with the promise of keeping the internet open and free. With these rules, the handful of massive ISPs that operate within the internet industry cannot restrict what sites their customers choose to access and utilize. Without net neutrality, they can.

Its repeal could have immediate personal effects on Americans. Let’s say, for example, that you  enjoy watching Netflix (I know for sure that Netflix is one of the most vital forces in my own life). Let’s also say that Verizon Fios is your ISP. Now, Verizon might get a little jealous that you chose a Netflix subscription over including cable in your Verizon package, and so they decide to cut off your access Netflix. You cannot switch providers, because Verizon is the only provider in your area. What do you do? Do you live without knowing the end of “Stranger Things”? Do you pay an extra fee to Verizon to reach the Netflix website? Do you suck it up and buy a cable package like your parents had back in 2005?

Let’s take another example. You are a politically active progressive who uses the internet to organize political meetings and rallies. Your ISP does not support you — indeed they are probably living on the complete opposite side of the ideological spectrum. Your left-wing, socialist tendencies do not match the corporate interests of AT&T, and AT&T decides to cut of your access to events posted on Facebook.

Furthermore, the FCC is relentlessly trying to push their agenda as a positive change, tweeting out the link to Chairman Ajit Pai’s press release on the repeal called, “Myth vs. Fact.” He also promises that revoking net neutrality will make it easier for providers to reach the 13% of Americans who do not have access to the internet. This seemingly charitable approach is still just another effort to put more money into the pockets of the ISPs.    

In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Rural Electrification Administration which successfully provided electricity to rural communities across the country. Chairman Pai’s rhetoric on spreading internet mirrors this effort, but there is a key difference. The Rural Electrification Administration used cooperative power companies that were run by their own employees. The FCC, on the other hand, will rely on contracting private companies, only deepening the monopolization of the internet industry.

Repealing net neutrality rules is a big deal. It is another step on the eerie road to fascism in America. However hopeless the fight we must engage in it. As a media company, 3 Generations supports net neutrality. The content on our website and on our Vimeo page are pieces of work that illuminate atrocities from genocide in Rwanda to sex trafficking in Miami. We believe that engagement with this sort of content is vital hearing the humanity behind human rights abuses.


-Maggie McNish

Download the 2016 Annual Report

Lost in Lebanon, directed by the Scott Sisters and produced by Jane Wells for 3 Generations, is screening at New York City’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival this June.

To celebrate this occasion, our intern Mimi Mayo-Smith interviewed sisters Georgia Scott and Sophia Scott on their documentary and perspectives on the Syrian War and the refugee diaspora in Lebanon. We are delighted to share with you an edited transcript of their conversation.

Lost in Lebanon will screen at the IFC on June 15th and at the Lincoln Center on June 17th. Tickets are still available for purchase here: Tickets for HRWFF

Mimi: You have a multi-layered and intimate knowledge of what’s going on with Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The common viewer usually only has the perspective of the mainstream media. What do you think viewers of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival should keep in mind when watching Lost in Lebanon?

Sophia: I think it’s very much that the human story is lost in all the news reports. What we hope to achieve in Lost in Lebanon is to give back some kind of dignity and human story to the vast numbers of fleeing refugees.

Georgia: I also think it as a reminder that the war is continuing inside Syria and that there are millions of Syrian people that cannot go back home. So I think this film is a reminder that their struggles continue.

Mimi: Do you think the way current media depicts Syrian refugees hinders the documentary through hyper-normalization or helps contextualize your film?

Sophia: I think the news medium is very important to get the developing stories out. It’s crucial. But I think what we’re offering can assist people who want to understand a bit more deeply and go more underneath the surface of what it actually means to be a refugee or what it means to be at home when there is war raging in your country. Even if you are no longer living underneath the bombs, the trauma still continues. And how you need to have access to legal status to be able to send your children to school. All those things that you don’t understand just from reading news reports, which tend to be slightly sensational and talk about the death and destruction. There is a lot more human trauma that follows.

Mimi: Do you think your film seeks to criticize the slow violence of bureaucracy and international institutions – the violence of the documentation process just because of the time it takes to assist refugees? Or is your film more of an expression of this reality?

Sophia: I think it’s quite subtle. It’s done through the voices of these four people. But it is questioning why is it that only five thousand Syrian people have been resettled legally in one year. Only 5 thousand out of a country that is hosting more than 1.8 million refugees. So I think it is. It is questioning. It is asking why is this happening? And looking at the consequences of not being resettled.

Georgia: This is very important for us just to state: we are not attacking or especially criticizing anybody or any organization. We are shining a light on an area of the world where people don’t always see the true story. So we’re trying to shine light on the Syrians that have fled and are living in neighboring countries like Lebanon. But I wouldn’t want to go as far as saying that we are being critical – because who are we to be critical? We are only observers on the ground.

Mimi: Is your film trying to increase activism in ordinary citizens?

Sophia: Absolutely. We are also trying to make people view the Syrian people who are fleeing the conflict as humans rather than just numbers, a fleeing refugee or some extremist Islamist person. We want people to identify more with, for example, Sheikh Abdo [LIL character]: a community leader, a teacher, a father. He could be your brother or your husband. We are trying to humanize a group of people that are often just portrayed as a number or an extremist. It’s not the case.

Mimi: Distributing the film in cities such as New York City and London – it seems that the audiences in these places are pretty progressive regarding the image of a refugee: a refugee as someone that is not a terrorist, not just a number.

Sophia: I think sometimes our concern is that these film festivals are fantastic but that we are slightly preaching to the converted so we are also very aware that we need to make sure our film is seen by the wider public. Which is why it’s so important for the results of the film festival to be that TV broadcasters pick it up, that we do all this outreach screenings at universities and high school classrooms so that the general public has access to this film as well.

Mimi: And you also do screenings at political conferences. Which ones have been you been to?

Sophia: We just started our outreach screenings last month. And we kickstarted that with a big screening at Chatham house, which is a large think tank in Europe. We’ve had one screening with them so far, last month, and we’re just in the process of organizing many more with the European Parliament, the German Parliament, the French Parliament, and the House of Lords here in the UK. And then, we have screenings across Lebanon that we are busy organizing now and with Middle Eastern institutions here in London, one of which is the center for Lebanese studies. We will have a screening there on the 4th of July.

Mimi: Do you think the way forward – in order to improve the lives of these millions of Syrians –  is to focus on their opportunities elsewhere rather than solving the conflict in Syria?

Sophia: Solving the conflict in Syria is paramount and I’m outraged that it’s going into its sixth year now. But I’m not fooling myself believing that this film can stop war inside Syria. I do hope that we can at least try and help the people that are either trying to flee currently from Syria or have already fled and are trying to survive in neighboring countries.

Mimi: One of the grand challenges of this conflict is educating the next generation. Do you think it’s important to hear from and share the perspectives of children directly?

Sophia: Yes. I mean every child that we met in Lebanon had experienced some form of terrible trauma from when they still lived under the bombings in Syria, where they’ve lost loved ones. But we also didn’t want to exploit young children, which is why our four main characters are all above the age of 18. We do have scenes where the younger children who Nemr or Sheikh Abdo [Lost in Lebanon characters] teach, and their voices are represented to an extent.

We also wanted to show the positive side and the importance of access to education, which is why some scenes of the film show the children learning, that they’ve been taught. We also wanted to show their eagerness to keep building a society that can help rebuild Syria in the future – which is through education.

Mimi: Should we then prioritize education when investing in the future of Syrian refugees?

Sophia: Yes – education is vital. But there needs to be an emphasis on access to legal status – because if a child or a family doesn’t have legal status in a country like Lebanon, then it makes it very difficult for that child to travel to school because they risk arrest and potential deportation. So it kind of comes hand in hand. The legal status is equally as important. It needs to come before access to education to be honest.

Mimi: The power to change the lives of Syrian refugees, then, lies primarily in the hands of foreign governments.

Sophia: Absolutely. It also lies in the hands of the international community. This film, Lost in Lebanon, is not criticizing the Lebanese government as such. It is shining a light on the fact that they are inundated with Syrian people, and Palestinian people before that, and so there needs to be some help given: advice and funding to ensure that the Lebanese government can in turn support the Syrian refugees that are currently residing in the country.

Mimi: What do you think is the root of the issue?

Sophia: I think the world has lost a lot of its compassion and I think we’ve become very fearful. I think the media and the government sometimes feed that fury of the human condition of hating the other and being fearful of the other. And I think that will only lead to future wars and make for very ugly societies. So Georgia and I are all about peace building and joining hands between different religious and ethnic groups. I think it’s so important to see each other as shared human beings living on this planet that belongs to us all. I think that lies at the heart of what we try to achieve with our films.

Mimi: Regarding your filming experience, was it difficult to live one and a half years in Lebanon?

Sophia: It was very challenging, first of all because we kind of give our whole self to the making of this film. We got very emotionally engaged with the characters and financially it was very difficult. We are always fundraising each step of the way. And we spent a lot of time in Lebanon – we got very involved with each character’s life. We kind of felt and still feel very responsible for them because they opened up to us. We have a good film at the end but their lives are still in disarray. It’s not quick fixes and the situation kind of continues. It was difficult and in some instances in the North of Lebanon it wasn’t very safe. There’s a risk of kidnapping so we had to deal with those factors but we felt the film we were making was worth it.  

Mimi: How can individuals engage and contribute to this issue?

Sophia: It starts in your own community. So raise awareness about the plight of refugees and try to make people understand that people are not wanting to leave their homes. They are being forced out of their homes. They don’t want to come to Europe or to America. It’s out of necessity. It’s out of the need to live safely somewhere. So that’s the number one thing that every individual in this world can do is try to spread the understanding that actually it’s the last resort to flee to Europe, or to the US, or to leave their home country. And secondly, also to be engaged and look at organizations that operate on the ground in a funding way. So you can support organizations like 3 Generations, or IFC,  or Refugees International – all these different kinds of organizations that work on the ground. The least is to be aware, to acknowledge.

Mimi: Your film seems very hopeful. It portrays the Syrian refugees gracefully, yet it also doesn’t romanticize their suffering. Was there still joy in the daily life of refugees?
Sophia: Absolutely. We’ve witnessed everything within the course of a year and a half. We’ve watched their friends dying, we’ve watch the birth of babies. We’ve attended weddings, birthday parties, new year’s eve, so we’ve witnessed everything and something that gave us a huge kind of hope was the continuous approach of life where they think “we’re lucky, we’re the lucky ones”.  And the fact that they wanted to help themselves and each other to survive and be an asset rather than a burden. So yes, they are very hopeful people in the face of continuing war in their own country. We found a lot of resilience.

Written by Mimi Mayo-Smith, 3G Intern

The world premiere for Lost in Lebanon will be held in London, United Kingdom at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival on March 12th and 13th, 2017.

“There is nothing like your homeland.

Nothing at all.”

In the global media, we know Syria as a place of conflict. Syria: rife with violations of human rights. Aleppo: a former UNESCO world heritage center now annihilated by bombs, empty of living breath. We do not want to go to Syria, hear about Syria, know Syria.

But Syria for Syrians is another story. Syria for Syrians is home. It is the place where identity and meaning dwells. Yet the war between the Free Syrian Army and al-Assad’s oppressive regime, intertwined with ISIS and Russia’s agendas, has made home a distant ghost for millions of Syrians. Home is now only a memory with faded senses. Thirteen million Syrians can no longer touch, feel, hear or smell their roots.

Lost in Lebanon, a documentary directed by the Scott Sisters and produced by 3 Generations and Jane Wells, gives voice and image to the deep fractures caused by displacement. Yet it is also a story of dignity, hope and beauty that can sprout through the painful cracks of loss.

The fracture is not only geographic but emotional. Lost in Lebanon expresses this complexity through its intimate portrayal of four Syrians stranded in Lebanon. The sounds and visuals of the camera inquire these humans’ feelings, philosophy and legal struggles from the crisis. A crisis they did not create, yet are deeply embedded in without choice.

Lebanon is a country of about 4 million people, but is a refuge for over a million Syrians. In 2014, Lebanon ended its Open Door Policy, giving Syrian refugees very little if not no socio-economic mobility. Yet it would be untrue to claim that Syrians aren’t fighting for change in their “open prisons”.  Although Syrians are stranded in Lebanon, they are the opposite of inactivity. Their eyes carry the depth of life and hope, and they are touchingly graceful in their suffering.  The humans we encounter in the film are not simply “refugees,” but activists fighting for better conditions in their own displaced communities. The film portrays the wisdom of Syrian artists, volunteer teachers, NGO leaders and camp managers in Lebanon with ambitions to give their people and the youngest generation of Syrians an opportunity to survive, to be educated and to belong.

And this is one of the most painful aspects of the refugee experience Lost in Lebanon documents. The political and military agendas of the most powerful governments are denying millions of  Syrians the right to belong.

They are perceived as a “burden”, even if they are humans like you and me seeking peaceful lives.

Their humanity is not only being confiscated through labels, but also through forced conscription (either to the Free Syrian Army or al-Assad’s troops), chemical warfare, exclusive laws and cultural apathy. Syrian refugees have suffered profound trauma and this trauma expresses itself in limitless ways. In Lost in Lebanon, a scene showcases Syrian children in a Lebanese refugee camp rapping about political violence. They are chanting rhythmically about their desire to live simply, ignorant of the world’s political theater armed with choking gases and indiscriminate bombs. The insight these children have on the nature of politics imprinted on me. Their honest expression was beautiful but disturbingly tragic. At seven and eight years old, they shouldn’t be singing about bullets planted in their friends’ backs.

Lost in Lebanon is a unique documentary. Unique in its ability to show the beautiful strength of people forced into suffering by warfare, while specifying how this suffering writes their mind’s everyday language:

When will I go home? When will I see my family again?  Will I  be granted legal residency? Will my passport be renewed? Will I ever go back to school? Will the next generation of Syrians be uneducated and landless? Will there be enough water and food for all of us?

These questions are not created out of a void but are derived from the political structures currently in place. The law of migration is bound to nationalist ideology – an ideology that cannot avoid discrimination and injustice.   Passports should not exist, one of the main Syrian protagonists said. Humans should be free to move anywhere, whenever. I agree with her. One’s homeland should not equate “nation” with a fixed racial/religious/sexual/etc. criteria for its citizens. For Syrians, Syria is a place of meaning, that connotes a belonging and holds the history of one’s self and family. It is a land they would like to return to and rebuild.

On March 6th, Trump signed a new travel ban, refusing entry to 6 mainly Muslim countries, including Syria. A 120 day ban has been put in place to block Syrian refugees from finding refuge in the States. This is a disgrace. People must watch Lost in Lebanon, not only to understand the political situation but to recognize that the humans affected are like ourselves and that our nationalist ideology is oppressive. We need to use our voices to keep theirs resoundingly alive.


Lost in Lebanon was reviewed by Cinevue, and was selected as one of their top picks at the HRW Film Festival 2017. To read the review, visit: 

Lebanon revises Open Door Policy.

See Amnesty’s report on Assad’s war crimes: 

By Maggie McNish, 3G Intern

The genocide that occurred during the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers.  It began in ghettos and in prison camps.  It began with scapegoating certain groups, blaming them for the destruction of the German economy after World War I.  We learn about the Holocaust, and we ask, how could the Germans let that happen?  Well, the answer is inside us, as Americans, because we are currently at risk of letting something like that happen.

Since the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, stocks in the private prison industry have soared.  According to Business Insider, by the morning of November 9th 2016, Corrections Corporations of America was up 40% and GEO Groups was up 20%.(1) These statistics raised alarms before Inauguration Day, but worries intensify everyday as the new administration continues to put out policy platforms that promote arrests.

To begin with, private prisons are making money off of the mass deportations that are taking place across the nation right now.  What happens to an immigrant mother when an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) officer rips her from her home? What happens to a child who is caught crossing the Texas border alone, hot, scared, and hungry? They are not simply sent back to their country of origin. No, they are detained in a placement facility. They are given an “alien registration number,” not unlike the numbers that were tattooed onto the wrists of Jews.

The Trump Administration is not to blame for this system. Under President Barack Obama, the Senate Appropriations Committee set an immigration detention bed quota, ensuring that at least 34,000 beds would be filled every day. Conversely, less than 500 beds are available for female victims of sex trafficking and less than 20 for male victims.     

Customs and Border Protection runs some of these facilities, like the Nogales Placement Center in Nogales, Arizona, which holds undocumented children who cross the border alone. Some media outlets were given a tour of the center in June 2014, and journalists witnessed kids imprisoned in the former warehouse.(2)

Undocumented children fenced in, sleeping on mats surrounded by porta-potties at Nogales Placement Center in Nogales, Arizona. Ross D. Franklin/AP

However, I.C.E. also has contracts with a growing number of private prison corporations. A December 2016 report from the Detention Watch Network revealed that 73% of immigrants detained under I.C.E. are being held inside private prisons.(3) Facts like these are explained by the uncomfortably close relationship between prison corporations and government officials.  For example, representatives from Arizona were tied to the lobbying firm ALEC in 2010 when the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act was passed, making it legal for Arizona law enforcement to discriminate based on ethnicity and charge immigrants for not carrying their papers.  ALEC works on behalf of private prison corporations.

What the Trump administration is doing is turning an already bad system into a human rights catastrophe. There is a reason he spent his campaign calling Mexicans rapists and criminals. He wants them in jails.  He wants these corporations to make a profit.

Immigrants are obviously not the only victims of the prison industrial complex, though. The devastating effect that mass incarceration has on black communities is coming to light more than ever before thanks to books like The New Jim Crowe and films like 13th.  The Civil War saw the end of slavery as America knew it, but it reshaped itself in the form of legal prejudice, imprisonment, and free labor.             

Then, we get President Trump threatening to send the feds into Chicago to deal with the violence there.  We hear him uplifting police officers without providing any criticism of the murders committed by cops against black men and women while his supporters shout, “blue lives matter,” clearly unable to comprehend the concept that many Americans really do not believe black lives matter.  His press secretary threatens that “you’ll see greater enforcement” of federal marijuana laws, whatever that means.(4) Trump himself makes statements like, “we’re all citizens of this blessed land, and no matter our color or the blood, color of the blood we bleed, it’s the same red blood of great, great patriot,” alluding to a new ideal of ethnic purity that horrifyingly mirrors Hitler’s dream of an Aryan society.(5)

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a concentration camp as “a place in which large numbers of people, especially political prisoners or members of persecuted minorities, are deliberately imprisoned in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities.”  It would seem as though our country has more than a few of those. Are we going to wait until we are facing our own arrests to care?    




(4) Sean Spicer, daily press briefing on 23 February 2017

(5) Donald Trump, address to CPAC on 24 February 2017

Last month, 3 Generations was very fortunate to grow with the addition of three new team members. We are excited to have Sue, Mimi, and Maggie join us.

Meet Sue Kim, 3 Generations’ new Office Manager:

Sue was raised in New Jersey and has called New York City home for the past sixteen years. She has worked in both the private and non-profit sectors but her experiences working in non-profits and independent film production have provided her with her greatest sense of accomplishment and pride. Sue is also a TV and film actress, her credits include Nike’s webseries Margot Vs. Lily, NBC’s Law and Order: SVU and CBS’ Golden Boy. She is happy to be joining the 3 Generations team.

Meet Mimi Mayo-Smith and Maggie McNish, 3 Generations’ new Interns:

Before moving to New York City, Mimi lived in Singapore and Ho Chi Minh city. She grew up with two sisters, numerous cousins and eleven dogs. She is graduating this spring with a B.A. in Environmental studies from NYU. Previously, Mimi interned at the Rainforest Alliance under the Special Events team and helped plan protests for’s Divestment Campaign in Sydney. She likes reading, writing, and the sound of gongs.
Maggie, a Brooklyn transplant from New Jersey, is a senior at Pace University in downtown Manhattan earning a degree in history with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. In 2016, she worked with the politics team covering the presidential election at ABC News as a media logger. She also interned at the United Nations during the 2016 First Committee session with Reaching Critical Will, an NGO headed by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Her best friend is her pit bull boxer named Woodrow Wilson.

Written by Mimi Mayo-Smith, our new intern at 3 Generations.

Growing up in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, my sisters and I would coddle up under the mosquito net and listen to my grandmother recite French poetry and sing lullabies: remnants of the colonial education she received under a now crumbled Indochinese Empire.

My grandmother grew up in the North of Vietnam but migrated to the South when the communists took over. She lived through the French and Japanese occupation, and survived American violence on Vietnamese soil and bodies. It is her personal story and lively voice that gave me a different perspective on the “Vietnam War”, one which complexified the version I learnt in school. In my high school and university classrooms, the Vietnamese War was painted in black and white shades of ideology: capitalism versus communism, the Americans versus the Vietnamese, the imperial collaborators versus the rural peasants. Yet, my grandmother saw it differently. To her, the War was beyond dualisms.

The people of the War were pieces of a broken mirror, scattered in many places, holding differing beliefs, hopes and desires. People’s loyalty were like body parts denigrated, burnt by napalm. “One was simply loyal to one’s life, and even then, not always.”

It was under the mosquito net, that I understood everyone’s voice had a place in “history”. My grandmother’s story is as authentic as the paragraphs printed in history textbooks. Voices, I learnt, are not only expressions of individual selves, but create, contribute, and re-enliven the story of a generation, a nation, a War, an injustice.

I intern at 3 Generations because I believe in the worth of personal stories to give meaning to buried political histories. I believe personal stories have the penetrating power to make the other care for histories that may not at first seem like their own. I believe in the authority of the non-authoritarian to share his or her story and define what injustice looks like and feels like.

I appreciate 3 Generation’s films on the refugee crisis and historical genocides because they do not uphold an objective view. There is no room for the impersonal. 3 Generations expresses trust and respect for the voices whose bodies were directly permeated by specific crises. 3 Generations carves vocal and visual spaces for those whom are usually left in the shadows. For this, I am grateful to be here.

Written by Maggie McNish, our new intern at 3 Generations.


I am a senior at Pace University majoring in History and minoring in Middle Eastern studies.  The plan is to go onto graduate school for International Relations with a concentration in media and culture.

I truly could not be more excited about the opportunity I stepped into.  During 2016, I was working for a major news cooperation covering the election.  My job was transcribing anything and everything from the campaign trail.  Live film constantly fed through the monitors from the digital journalists in the field, and I spent a year typing it all.

If Ted Cruz had a media avail, I was there.  If Hillary went to a coffee shop, I was there, writing down her order along with the server.  If Trump had five rallies in one day, I was there, typing every “[chanting] USA! USA!,” every “[chanting] Build the wall! Build the wall!,” and every “[chanting] Lock her up! Lock her up!”

I was there at the Republican Convention, when a correspondent heard a “lock her up” chant evolve into a “burn the witch” one.

Taking in all that energy was beyond stressful.  It was emotionally painful.  On election night, I could not leave work on election night until Donald Trump gave his victory speech.

“I am actually incapable of doing my job right now,” I told a producer.

“I know.  I know,” she consoled me.  “But I need this transcript so I can cut my piece in the morning.  This is for me.”

Months before November 8th, before the primaries were over, I was taking my dog Woodrow for a midnight walk through the park when I called my brother Matt.  This particular phone conversation lasted way after the walk ended, straight into the closed door of my bedroom, after he told me to step back from the election madness – even step back from Bernie.  I was desperately trying to figure out when my brother lost his morality.

“This is what they want,” Matt said, “everybody fighting over two or three people.”

“But we have to fight, or else Donald Trump becomes president,” I insisted.  “If Hillary wins the primary, we’re done, he’s in, and it’s over.”

“We can’t all live in fear of one man,” he tried to tell me.  “We can’t all be terrified about what will happen in one election.”

He paused and then said, “Or else we’ll all go mad.”

“I am going mad,” I whispered.

“Yeah, because you’re 21 years old, dealing all your own shit, and being bombarded with all sides of this propaganda.  You hear exactly what they want you to hear, exactly what they think is wrong with the other side when, really, we all need to just be dealing with our own shit.”

“But—” I tried.

I stared off through my window and actively attempted to reach calmness.

“But, what are we supposed to do if it’s not helping people?” I finally let out.

“That’s when you’re in a library one day, you stumble across some book about the Sahara Desert, you become amazed with it, and you decide that is what you want to dedicate your life to.  It’s about finding something deep inside you that you care about instead of letting these people tell you everything we should be scared of and why you need to do something about it right now.”

“Something you’re passionate about,” I said, still staring off.

He went on.  “Like, I think this Mars exploration is crap.  We might get there, but we collectively need to bring ourselves back down to Earth and realize that’s all we have right now.”

I shook myself out of my newfound state and held onto my last defense.  “That’s why we need Bernie though!  He’s the only one who even cares about climate change.”

“He might, and that’s great.  But he’s also just one man.”

And I am just one woman.  I am a very confused, financially unstable, often idiotic woman living in Brooklyn trying to figure out what is going on not only in my own life but in the world we find ourselves living in.  Growing up in New Jersey with average middle class privilege, I was able to go through middle and high school dreaming of what I would do when I grew up.  I foolishly assumed that I had options, because I also assumed that the world I would grow into would be the same as the one I grew up in.

Before I ever kissed a real person, I used to have reoccurring dreams about kissing President Obama.  Now, I live in a world where I have nightmares from watching the news at night – dreams about sexual trauma induced by a new president who admitted to sexual assault on tape.  I live in a world where white woman heard that tape over and over and over again and still voted for him.

I knew America wasn’t perfect.  We all knew that.  We have a constitution that thinks a black person is really only ¾ of a person.  We have a government that never ratified an Equal Rights Amendment for women.  We are the only country on Earth that has dropped a nuclear bomb on another.

I just never knew that by the time I was 22, I would have to spend weekends and nights getting in my workouts via protests and marches.  And, really, it is way too overwhelming.  There are so many injustices nationally and internationally, socially and politically that it has become emotionally impossible to handle all of it.

3 Generations has given me the chance to handle it.  It is an organization that focuses on issues I am passionate about.  I am conscious of the fact that we live on colonized land and feel an urgent sense of solidarity with the Native Americans who are ahead of the rest of America in the fight against oil.  It pains me that within this context, the next Secretary of State will be the CEO of Exxon and a personal friend of Vladimir Putin.

Instead of giving myself up to a news cycle plagued with a bad case of A.D.H.D., I am now exposed to the dedication, thoughtfulness, and sensitivity that goes into a film or a video focused on one main issue, one unique injustice.  I am learning to step back from the madness and understand the problems I am passionate about from the most important source of perspective – the victims.

So far, 2017 has been a very busy year for 3 Generations and we want to share some of the press coverage we have received on our newly released films:

German Concentration Camps Factual Survey

The New York Times reviewed the film: 

The New York Times interviewed Jane about the film:

The Daily Beast puts the film into a modern perspective under a new administration:

A Different American Dream

The New York Times reviewed the film:

The Hollywood Reporter reviewed the film:

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