Curious minds select the most fascinating podcasts from around the world. Discover hand-piqd audio recommendations on your favorite topics.
Malia Politzer is the executive editor of piqd.com, and an award-winning long-form journalist based out of Spain. She specializes in reporting on migration, international development, human rights issues and investigative reporting.
Originally from California, she's lived in China, Spain, Mexico and India, and reported from various countries in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Her primary beats relate to immigration, economics and international development. She has published articles in Huffington Post Highline, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue India, Mint, Far Eastern Economic Review, Foreign Policy, Reason Magazine, and the Phoenix New Times. She is also a regular contributor to Devex.
Her Huffington Post Highline series, "The 21st Century Gold Rush" won awards from the National Association of Magazine Editors, Overseas Press Club, and American Society of Newspaper Editors. She's also won multiple awards for feature writing in India and the United States.
Her reporting has been supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, The Institute For Current World Affairs, and the Global Migration Grant.
Degrees include a BA from Hampshire College and MS from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where was a Stabile Fellow at the Center for Investigative Journalism.
"Offshore" is an investigative podcast produced in Hawaii. I recently stumbled on the third season "The Blood Calls", produced this year, which investigates adoption fraud in the Marshall Islands.
The entire series is a deep dive into unethical adoptions, shining a spotlight on the corruption, exploitation, and abuse of power that riddles the worst actors in the international adoption industry. It explores how the Marshall Islands went from a place where adoption is pretty much unknown, to having one of the highest per-capita adoption rates in the world—leading to so may children being adopted out that they are sometimes called the "lost generation".
Episode 1, The Adoptions, gives a teaser of some of the complexities associated with inter-cultural adoptions, and hints towards some of the darker themes the podcast will touch on in later episodes—human trafficking, the coercion of birth moms, and the loss of culture and identity that a child adopted away from their birth country might experience. It also introduces us to our main character, London Lewis, a 25-year old man adopted as a child from the Marshall Islands who is searching for his birth parents.
The investigation begins in Kapialani Hospital in Hawaii, where sometime last year, doctors began noticing a troubling trend: About 20 women of Marshall descent had all come to give birth, then given away their children. All the women shared the same translator—and often the same address—and doctors were worried that there might be indications pointing to human trafficking.
The podcast then cuts to the late 1990s, which marked the beginning of the adoption rush. Between 1996 and 1999, about 500 Marshall babies were adopted—a significant number, considering that the total population of the Marshall Islands numbers only 68,000. In 1999, the government imposed a temporary moratorium on adoptions. But that didn't stop the most horrendous abuses—deceptive practices used to coerce birth mothers into giving away their children.