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Human Trafficking Awareness / Video PSA by Emma Thompson

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Published on Jun 16, 2009

Public domain video. Emma Thompson voices for the victims in this moving emotional piece for Human Trafficking Awareness.

Human trafficking differs from people smuggling. In the latter, people voluntarily request smuggler's service for fees and there may be no deception involved in the (illegal) agreement. On arrival at their destination, the smuggled person is usually freed. On the other hand, the trafficking victim is enslaved, or the terms of their debt bondage are highly exploitative. The trafficker takes away the basic human rights of the victim.

Victims are sometimes tricked and lured by false promises or physically forced. Some traffickers use coercive and manipulative tactics including deception, intimidation, feigned love, isolation, threat and use of physical force, debt bondage,or other abuse. People who are seeking entry to other countries may be picked up by traffickers, and misled into thinking that they will be free after being smuggled across the border. In some cases, they are captured through slave raiding, although this is increasingly rare.

Trafficking is a fairly lucrative industry. In some areas, like Russia, Eastern Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, and Colombia, trafficking is controlled by large criminal organizations. However, the majority of trafficking is done by networks of smaller groups that each specialize in a certain area, like recruitment, transportation, advertising, or retail. This is very profitable because little start up capital is needed, and prosecution is relatively rare.

Trafficked people are usually the most vulnerable and powerless minorities in a region. They often come from the poorer areas where opportunities are limited, they often are ethnic minorities, and they often are displaced persons such as runaways or refugees (though they may come from any social background, class or race).

Women are particularly at risk from sex trafficking. Criminals exploit lack of opportunities, promise good jobs or opportunities for study, and then force the victims to become prostitutes. Through agents and brokers who arrange the travel and job placements, women are escorted to their destinations and delivered to the employers. Upon reaching their destinations, some women learn that they have been deceived about the nature of the work they will do; most have been lied to about the financial arrangements and conditions of their employment; and find themselves in coercive or abusive situations from which escape is both difficult and dangerous.

Trafficking of children often involves exploitation of the parents' extreme poverty. The latter may sell children to traffickers in order to pay off debts or gain income or they may be deceived concerning the prospects of training and a better life for their children. In West Africa, trafficked children have often lost one or both parents to the African AIDS crisis. Thousands of male (and sometimes female) children have also been forced to be child soldiers.

The adoption process, legal and illegal, results in cases of trafficking of babies and pregnant women between the West and the developing world. In David M. Smolins papers on child trafficking and adoption scandals between India and the United States, he cites there are systemic vulnerabilities in the inter-country adoption system that makes adoption scandals predictable.

Thousands of children from Asia, Africa, and South America are sold into the global sex trade every year. Often they are kidnapped or orphaned, and sometimes they are actually sold by their own families.

Men are also at risk of being trafficked for unskilled work predominantly involving forced labor which globally generates $31bn according to the International Labor Organization. Other forms of trafficking include forced marriage, and domestic servitude.
This Public Service Announcement shows the Oscar-winning British actress, Emma Thompson, mouthing the words of real-life human trafficking victims -- male and female; sex slaves, forced labourers, and children press-ganged into carrying guns.

The PSA was produced by Linx Productions on behalf of the UN-led Global Initiative Against Human Trafficking -- www.ungift.org. The video is airing on leading international TV news channels, including CNN, Al Jazeera, and Deutsche Welle.

UN.GIFT was launched in March 2007 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with a grant made on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. It is managed in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO); the International Organization for Migration (IOM); the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF); the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR); the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Emma Thompson is in ardent campaigner against human trafficking -- especially sex slavery.

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