Mariana Van Zeller Talks Gaining Access to Dangerous Black Markets for ‘Trafficked’
Peabody Award-winning journalist Mariana van Zeller takes us into the most dangerous black markets on the planet in her docuseries “Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller.” She dives deep into the inner workings of smuggling rings for tigers, drugs, international scamming, and more topics that impact our daily lives to show us how and why they exist.
Van Zeller explained, “We may not be aware of it, but we might be carrying a fake $100 bill in our pocket. All around us there are Americans being scammed. I’ve received these calls. My very good friends here in Los Angeles were just scammed a couple months ago. We are not even aware of how often these things happen.”
She continued, “So all these topics I think were chosen because they have a real impact on our daily lives. I gave myself the unique challenge to gain access into these worlds, unprecedented access in many cases, into these worlds and to truly try to understand why these trafficking networks operate. How they operate, why they operate, and what we can do to prevent them from operating.”
Van Zeller takes viewers on her global journey into these black markets to understand the people who are running them and to show how they are more like us than we realize.
“It’s an adventurous, compelling television show for sure,” Mariana said. “We go all around the world exploring these black markets, embedding with trafficking, traffickers, smugglers, the operators in these black market worlds. One thing that was super important for me was to portray it as not so black and white. As not them being the bad guys and we being the good people, but really realizing that the world is much more gray than that and being able to humanize the people that we meet and who gave us access into their worlds.”
Watch “Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller” on National Geographic.