Here’s something for you to keep on your calenders for the New Year: Not My Life, a documentary on modern day slavery, narrated by Ashley Judd—and featuring Free the Slaves President Kevin Bales—will premiere in January.
The director of Not My Life is Robert Bilheimer, who was nominated for an Oscar in 1988 for The Cry of Reason, a documentary based on the life of Afrikaner anti-apartheid activist Beyers Naude. Bilheimer’s second film was 2003′s A Closer Walk, a documentary on the worldwide AIDS epidemic narrated by Will Smith and Glenn Close, featuring interviews with human rights luminaries and celebrities like the Dalai Lama, Bono and Sade. This film has been viewed by over 300 million people—a success they hope to replicate with Not My Life.
The film was shot all over world, including, notably, the United States, where child sex trafficking is explored. The film also features several locations where Free the Slaves works: child labor in Ghana, slave labor in Brazil and labor and sex trafficking in India.
Watch the trailer for Not My Life after the jump!
The Unchosen film festival in Bristol, UK, now in its third year, is opening next Monday, and will run through November 16. The event touts itself as the only film festival in the UK that concentrates exclusively on the topic of slavery. The festival has partnered with several prominent anti-slavery organizations—including Anti-Slavery International, which Free the Slaves is affiliated with.
This year’s films depict slavery on the streets of Lisbon, child trafficking in Brazil and sex slavery in India. A live musical about the original abolitionist movement to end the trans-Atlantic slave trade will also be staged.
Other events include an art exhibition titled (Un)Veiled: Human Trafficking Through the Eyes of Artists. 18 organizations (including the aforementioned Anti-Slavery International, as well as ECPAT, Blue Blindfold and Amnesty) will hold informational booths.
- “The Whistleblower,” a feature film about modern day slavery, starring Rachel Weisz premiered to standing ovations at the Toronto Film Festival on Monday. The film is based on the true story of Kathy Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who went to Bosnia in 1999 as a UN peacekeeper—where she discovered and blew the whistle on a human trafficking ring.
- CNET: Craigslist urged to shut erotic-services ads worldwide: “In the U.S., Craigslist renamed the section from ‘erotic’ to ‘adult.’ But in other countries, the section is still known as ‘erotic.’ The U.S. and Canadian versions contained a ‘Warning & Disclaimer’ page discussing human trafficking and sexual exploitation, according to the groups. However, that warning is not present on any of the international versions.”
- ABC News: In Houston, a fake slave auction draws attention to human trafficking: “Americans citizens are also forced into slavery, particularly children and young girls… Roughly 20 percent of human trafficking rescues in the U.S. happen in Texas, but authorities often have trouble getting victims to testify against traffickers.”
Via Neon Tommy: Several dozen Thai workers—many of them hiding their faces behind scarves and sunglasses—spoke at a press conference in front of a Thai temple in Los Angeles yesterday. The workers were victims in the largest human trafficking case in U.S. history. Hundreds of Thai workers were allegedly lured into slavery by Beverly Hills-based labor recruiting agency Global Horizons Manpower. They paid the agency up to $17,000 to get placed into jobs on American farms. But instead, they were enslaved, unable to leave, and saddled with bogus debts they were forced to work off. The press conference was helmed by the Thai Community Development Center, a non profit organization that assisted in the FBI investigation against the recruiting agency.
MAJOR MOTION PICTURE ON MODERN DAY SLAVERY TO BE DIRECTED BY INDIAN ACTRESS/FILMMAKER NANDITA DAS
Via IndiaGlitz: The film, titled “Trafficking,” is written by former Free the Slaves board member Siddharth Kara. The movie “tells the story of three young women from India, Nigeria and Ukraine forced into sexual slavery in a brothel in Italy, where they attempt a daring escape.”