“Not My Life” a documentary by oscar-nominated director Robert Bilheimer airs Saturday and Sunday at 7pm. Be sure to tune in to see our very own Kevin Bales.
2008 Freedom Award winner James Kofi Annan is a survivor of childhood slavery. He was enslaved in Ghana’s fishing industry, forced to work in hazardous conditions on Lake Volta, beaten and subdued, given little to no compensation.
Annan was able to escape. He went to school and embarked on a successful business career. But he was compelled to go back to Lake Volta to face the trauma of his past. He now dedicates his life to rescuing other child slaves. By doing so, he says, he is “correcting the injustice” that was done to him. Annan started Challenging Heights to rehabilitate rescued child slaves by offering counseling, support, and education. For Annan, access to education was the key to his emancipation. He wants to pass this on to the children he rescues. By going to school, these children have a chance to “recover from trauma and regain hope for the future.”
The video above is a short documentary, “Slaves of the Lake,” produced by British cable network Community Channel. It follows two former fishing slaves rescued by Challenging Heights, and chronicles the boys struggles as they try to re-integrate into lives of freedom. Often, the real challenges of emancipation happen after an enslaved person is rescued. The road to recovery can be a long and treacherous one. True and lasting freedom comes from holistic, community-based solutions—as the documentary above illustrates.
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Originally released back in 2009, ‘Red Light’ follows the plight of girls kidnapped and sold into brothels in Cambodia. Lucy Liu, who is a co-producer of the film, narrates. It will be airing on Showtime September 9, 8pm.
Lucy Liu became a UNICEF Ambassador in 2005. Her work on modern day slavery includes a collaboration with USAID and MTV EXIT on the documentary short ‘Traffic,’ profiling real life survivors of human trafficking and slavery in Asia.