Human trafficking is the third largest crime in the world following drugs and arms. According to the U.S. Department of State's 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report, there are close to 27 million people enslaved today. Due to the complexities of human trafficking, this number is just an estimate.
On August 12, 2013, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime along with Lifetime TV hosted a private screening of the upcoming movie Baby Sellers. The movie takes a look into the grim reality of a side of human trafficking not often discussed: selling babies. I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend this screening. Following the film, there was a short panel. One of the main points discussed is the use of the entertainment industry to raise awareness of social issues and human rights abuses amongst the general public.
The entertainment industry has a heavy influence on society, especially American society. For instance, the movie Taken, also on human trafficking, brought national attention to the issue. Although the entertainment industry has good intentions to discuss human rights abuses throughout the world through film, it must be careful to properly convey the complexities of theses issues. It must make sure not to over dramatize or over simplify the problem, but the efforts of this industry are well applauded. Today, we also have an influx of celebrities ranging from athletes to singers and actors getting involved in global campaigns to end world hunger or violence against children and more, and their public status has brought a lot of attention to these issues. The role of the entertainment industry and celebrities in bringing global attention to the world's most pressing needs is vital. As stated earlier, as long as the issues are properly explained and portrayed, the international community should continue to collaborate with these agents of change.
Watch the world premiere of Baby Sellers on Saturday August 17 8.7 central on Lifetime.
U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
2013 Trafficking in Persons Report: http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2013/