“We can all do something according to who we are.”
A perfect answer to THE question which dominated the speeches and the debate, before and after the screening of Not My Life, the powerful film by Robert Bilheimer on human trafficking and contemporary slavery: “What can I do?”.
“We can all do something according to who we are” – Kofi Annan said to Robert Bilheimer when he was interviewed about the global AIDS epidemic for the film A Closer Walk. As Bilheimer said in a recent interview, it is a “deceptively simple answer, but a perfect one”. “Any act of compassion, or solidarity, or resistance is ultimately an act of self-definition. I am, therefore I act“. (1)
BE PART OF THE SOLUTION – this message came back again and again, and was illustrated with several examples, both in the compelling introduction by Antonio Maria Costa, former UN Under-Secretary-General, and in the ensuing dialogue with director Bilheimer and the audience.
We would like to thank the speakers, the participants, and everyone involved in making the Ciné ONU screening of Not My Life Film such an authentic and impactful event. Several days later we still feel the power of emotion that was in the room.
The photos by Raoul Somers below capture a few of these moments.
Cine ONU "Not my life" screening 04/12/2017 Photos: Raoul Somers
“Human traffickers are earning billions of dollars on the backs and in the beds of our children and yet no one knows this is happening. We have a huge responsibility, right now, to learn the truth and act on it.” – Robert Bilheimer
(This section is work-in-progress, we’ll enrich it progressively with more suggestions).
Setting the context
Slavery is not merely a historical relic. According to the Global Estimates 2017 by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), more than 40 million people worldwide were victims of contemporary slavery in 2016. Modern slavery is used as an umbrella term covering practices such as forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, and human trafficking. Essentially, it refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power. Slavery is closer than you think; although illegal in every country, it persists in every corner of the world, including the most advanced democracies.
The deadly link between human trafficking and the involuntary displacement of millions of children, women, and men around the world is the defining human rights issue of our time. A recent Thomson Reuters report states that Rohingya refugee children and women can be bought for approximately $6. The average modern-day slave can be sold for $90-100.
This is the world we live in, and this is unacceptable.
BE PART OF THE SOLUTION
LEARN – The first step in eradicating modern slavery is awareness and education. Together, we can put an end to the exploitation of millions of children, women, and men around the world.
Worldwide Documentaries, the producers of Not My Life www.notmylife.org and Heart of the Matter, wish to thank Time for Equality and United Nations/UNRIC CINE ONU for the opportunity to share Not My Life’s message.
We also would like to thank all who attended tonight’s screening, and we are offering a 10% off coupon code for Not My Life to share with colleagues, family and friends through Vimeo On Demand;
Link: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/notmylife – Discount code: cineonulux Code valid 12/4-12/31
SHARE –Spread the Word
We believe this film can prevent thousands of innocent, vulnerable refugees from being trafficked, and it begins with awareness that this danger exists.
Under the direction of Academy Award-nominated director Robert Bilheimer, Worldwide Documentaries has addressed many of the defining human rights issues of our time. With Heart of the Matter, our work in progress, Worldwide will tell the stories of the millions of migrant and refugee children who are exploited by the modern-day slave industry, which has reduced human life to a mere commodity.
The research and development for Heart of the Matter is complete and we are now seeking:
(a) funding support to begin full-scale, uninterrupted production in January 2018; (b) effective partners to maximize the impact of the film once it is complete.
If you cannot make a monetary contribution, there are other ways you can help us! Please SHARE our film page www.heartomfilm.org, FOLLOW us on Twitter and Facebook. SPREAD THE WORD.
TAKE ACTION – Help us to Help
Provide immediate assistance for the basic comfort, health, hygiene and dignity of someone in need.
Participate in the humanitarian actions of the association WISE by volunteering or donating goods, services or funding.
Contact WISE firstname.lastname@example.org and follow its activities https://facebook.com/assowise
Join the solidarity campaign that will be launched by Time For Equality to support their humanitarian action.
TAKE ACTION – Advocate for Policy Change
Luxembourg for Freedom is a community-based campaign initiated by Time for Equality to support the 50ForFreedom campaign of the International Labour Organisation to promote ratification of the Protocol on Forced Labour by 2018.
The Protocol is a legally binding treaty that will require governments to take new measures tackling modern slavery in all its forms. It works on three main levels: protection, prevention and access to justice. To date 21 countries have ratified the Protocol. Luxembourg is not among these countries. We are asking all members of our community to get involved to show our Luxembourg government that we want ratification of ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labour.
SIGN on www.50forfreedom.org. This is your chance to help end slavery once and for all.