Posts Tagged ‘modern slavery’

Ulrich Seidl’s film, Import/Export, about two migrations in post-Soviet Europe is described as “startling, horrible and brilliant” by Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian.  This film has been added to my list of films on slavery / human trafficking, thanks to a recommendation in a comment on this blog.

Import ExportThe film’s official website lists the following synopsis:

“Import/Export chronicles two different migrations: a young woman who leaves behind her mother and young child in The Ukraine to begin a new life as a nurse in Vienna; and a headstrong young security guard called Paul who leaves Vienna to accompany his stepfather on a trip delivering gumball machines in Eastern Europe.”

You can view a trailer at the official website

View other FILMS and BOOKS about slavery / human trafficking



Chelo Alvarez-Stehle has produced a documentary on slavery in the form of human sex trafficking. Here’s the description from the filmmaker:

“A 15-year quest to expose the underworld of sexual exploitation and trafficking from Asia to the Americas leads world-reporter Chelo Alvarez-Stehle to the windswept beach where her childhood ended and family secrets began. As she documents the transformation of sex-trafficking survivor Virginia Isaias—a Mexican American woman whose past is engulfed in a cycle of sexual exploitation—into an inspiring advocate committed to break that pattern, Chelo undertakes a parallel journey of healing and introspection as she sets out to shatter the silence about abuse in her own life.”

Sands of Silence Official Trailer English 2:30 min from Chelo Alvarez-Stehle on Vimeo.

Find other FILMS or BOOKS about slavery and human trafficking

Not for Sale is hosting the 2012 Global Forum, “Justice for the Bottom Billion”, November 1&2 in Silicon Valley.

Featured Speakers:

  • Jeremy Affeldt – Pitcher, San Francisco Giants
  •  Leila Janah – Founder, Samasource
  •  Sarah Ferguson – Duchess of York
  •  Nancy Duarte – Founder & CEO, Duarte Inc.
  •  Francis Chan – Pastor and Best-Selling Author
  •  Jaida Im – Founder and Executive Director, Freedom House

The Global Forum is more than a conference. It is a personal, face to face gathering that will leave you inspired, equipped, and more plugged in as an abolitionist than ever before. You’ll hear what is going on in the movement to end slavery, recent developments and new strategies to fight human trafficking, as well as intimate break-out sessions from some of the leading abolitionists around the world.

Register or find out more information at Not For Sale Global Forum

“Not My Life is the first documentary film to depict the horrifying and dangerous practices of human trafficking and modern-day slavery on a global scale.
Filmed on five continents over a period of four years, Not My Life unflinchingly, but with enormous dignity and compassion, depicts the unspeakable practices of a multi-billion dollar global industry whose profits, as the film’s narration says, “are built on the backs and in the beds of our planet’s youth.”

Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and it’s got me thinking and reading about the issue more than usual.  I found an excellent site with FAQs about Human Trafficking, and it’s worth checking out.  However, I had another thought regarding the FAQs of a trafficking victim.  I don’t know because I’m not a victim of human trafficking, but I strongly suspect that the frequently asked questions of slavery victims are quite different than the questions from most of us seeking information about this topic.  My intent is not to be disrespectful to victims in my ignorance, or even overly dramatic. But I do hope to provoke thought.  Naturally, I don’t attempt to offer answers at this point.

These are my guesses, and please click here to add your own guesses at victim FAQs:

  • Will I be beaten (by the men who rape me) tonight?
  • Will my children ever be able to go to school?
  • How come God never seems to hear me?
  • If I try to escape, will they kill my family?
  • How can I get enough johns to avoid getting beaten by <insert pimp’s name>?
  • Am I going to get AIDS from this guy?

As I mentioned above, here is a link for the site that prompted my post

Please leave a comment with your reactions or your own guesses at victim FAQs.

Today, January 11th, 2012, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the U.S. Many organizations are sponsoring events to mark the day, hosting speakers, prayer vigils, fundraisers, etc. There is even an international group of remarkable women climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro as part of The Freedom Climb.  I was thinking last night about how I might want to observe Human Trafficking Awareness Day so that I could be aware throughout the day that slavery still exists not only around the world, but in Silicon Valley where I live.  I don’t think I’m going to be able to attend one of the public events in my area, so I’m going to have to participate online, and in my own private way.  I plan to make a couple of posts here in the blog, partly to keep the issue in front of me, and also to spread awareness to readers.  I’m currently reading A Crime So Monstrous by E. Benjamin Skinner, so I’ll spend some time reading and thinking about the issue tonight before bed.  I’m also going to be talking with one of my kids tonight, and the topic will come up, if only briefly.

But it occurred to me as I was considering options for helping raise awareness of human trafficking, that there’s one group of people that don’t need to be made aware of the problem — the victims.  A man in India who works in a brick factory because of bonded debt slavery, and can’t protect his wife or send his children to school, doesn’t need to be told that slavery exists.  A girl kidnapped from Mexico and smuggled to San Diego to be commercially raped multiple times a night until she is either rescued, or becomes too old, sick, and unattractive to be profitable to her pimp, doesn’t need to be reminded about human trafficking.

So don’t bother to tell the victims of modern slavery that today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, because they don’t need to know.  They are aware every moment of every day that they don’t have the freedom to go where they want and live as they choose.  Someone more powerful than them is exploiting them for profit, and it’s going to take someone else more powerful — you and me — to not only rescue them, but to help them with the rehabilitation that will be required to give them new hope.

Please click here (or on the speech bubbled next to the title of the post) to leave a comment with your choices and observations about National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

(Carl’s update note on November 8, 2012:  The next National Human Trafficking Awareness Day will be January 11, 2013.  You can start preparing now. Make a plan with your family, friends, church group, organization for how to spread awareness about slavery and human trafficking on and around that day. One way to prepare is to read a book or watch a movie to get educated, inspired, and be ready to join the movement.)

January 11th is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the U.S. by act of the Congress.  President Obama has declared January to be Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month.

What are you going to do to build awareness for you and others?  Click on the speech bubble symbol above this post (or here) to leave a comment and share your plan for observing National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Here are some ideas on how to observe it:

Attend a public event or prayer vigil –

Get one of these books on human trafficking to educate yourself

Get one of these movies on human trafficking, or watch one on Netflix

Donate to an organization that fights human trafficking, such as the Not for Sale Campaign, Polaris Project or one of the organizations listed on the left bar of this page

Volunteer with an organization that assists victims of human trafficking such as GEMS-Girls or one of the organizations listed on the left bar of this page

Buy a product that is Fair Trade Certified or Made by Survivors

Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with The Freedom Climb.  (If you can’t make it to Tanzania by Wednesday, perhaps just sponsor a climber or one of their causes. 🙂 )

Please click on the speech bubble icon above this post (or here) to leave a comment with your thoughts, ideas, plans for National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

I’m reading A Crime So Monstrous by E. Benjamin Skinner.  Skinner visited Haiti to investigate human trafficking.  He wrote that one could “successfully bargain a human being down to the price of cab fare to JFK.”  The seller was offering to find him a 13 year old girl, maybe younger, to take back to the US for housecleaning work, and even as a sex partner. 

On one hand, I would prefer not to know that kids are able to be bought, and so cheaply.  But this is stuff I’m choosing to find out.  Why? As I’m learning more about human trafficking, I’m realizing that my consumer choices have an impact on slavery in places like Haiti.  My chocolate, my clothing, my coffee, my smart phone, my computer, the cleaning service, and more.  When I spend based on price and brand alone, without regard to the labor and raw material purchasing policies of the companies that produce my stuff, I give those companies an incentive to use slave labor to keep their prices low.  At the very least, those companies don’t have an incentive to carefully monitor the sources of labor and raw materials for their products. Reading a book like Skinner’s helps me be a more responsible consumer and a more compassionate person.

Skinner’s book and others related to human trafficking are listed on the Non-fiction books page.

The Slavery Map shows where documented incidents of human trafficking have occurred: in your town, and around the world.  The Not For Sale Campaign created this map so that you can see where trafficking cases have been confirmed.  I learned about The Slavery Map from the excellent book, Not For Sale by David Batstone. (get more info in my list of non-fiction books)  The goal of the book and the campaign is to equip individuals to become abolitionists who…

  • Are aware of human trafficking in their community
  • Recognize signs of human trafficking
  • Report current situations of suspected bondage to the US Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-3737-888
  • Report documented incidents of human trafficking to The Slavery Map

A young woman was trafficked into prostitution in Kolkata, India, and then rescued at age 16.  After more than a year of freedom and healing, she was victimized again, and trafficked into a brothel across the country to Mumbai.  It took rescuers more than four months to find her again in the vast red light district of an enormous city.  Watch the story at International Justice Mission’s web site.