I was at the screening of Not My Life on Friday night at the occasion of the EU Anti-trafficking Day. Robert Bilheimer’s documentary provides staggering examples of human trafficking and modern slavery. It follows the stories of the victims in different parts of the world. Africa, Asia, Europe…Around 880,000 children and young women in the EU and 21 million worldwide are currently exploited for labour and sexual services.
The film exposes the cruelty and physical and emotional harm these people are subject to. The stolen childhoods, the erased dreams, the raped hopes for love and normal existence. The stories of survivers are heartbreaking. The confessions of jailed delinquents are not less striking, especially the calm, relaxed way in which they talk about their offences – without a slightest sign of regret.
This is happening today. In our reality.
And it is shared responsibility. As the discussion between Cecilia Malmstrom, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Joëlle Milquet, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Home Affairs and for Equal Opportunities, Robert Bilheimer, the film director and the audience suggested – these crimes are not conducted only by the pimps and human traffickers but also by the users of the provided services. This includes not only using the sexual services of the girls but also buying cheap T-shirts without checking where and by whom they have been produced.
There is a lot which needs to be done to change this. But the first step is awareness raising. Thus this film.
All of us who were at the screening were there upon invitation. A crowd of policy makers, NGO representatives and consultants. And we all received access to the film with one message: to share it. So that more people become aware of what is happening.
The least you can do is see the film. Here is the password: nml123.
Then share it.