Winner 2010

Lucia’s Letter

WGCU Public Media

Lucia’s Letter is a documentary inspired by an audio “letter,” a composite derived from interviews with several Guatemalan women who had hired smugglers — “coyotes” — to sneak them into the United States. The women, to their horror, found themselves enslaved by their supposed saviors, forced to work for them or sold to others as indentured field hands or as prostitutes. When the letter, a heartfelt warning to young women who might make the same mistake, was recorded at WGCU’s studios, Amy Tardif, the station manager and news director, was so affected that she made it her mission to dig deeper. She persuaded one of the women from whose grim experiences the letter was drawn to do an extended interview, and she found ways, despite limited funds, to get the original audio letter played in Guatemalan villages and have the reactions of women there recorded and then translated. The interviews became the basis for Tardif’s candid, poignant, illuminating report. For cautioning would-be Lucia’s and alerting a wider audience to the ugly realities of human trafficking, a Peabody Award goes to Lucia’s Letter.


Executive producer, writer and reporter: Amy Tardif. Copy editor: Judith Smelter. Web designer: Richard Chin Queen. Translations: Maria Barbero. Music: Kat Epple, Las Mayas de Huehuetenango.