Over 40 million people around the world are in slavery today – more than at any other time in history. Many are trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labour and even for their organs.
For the UN’s ‘World Day Against Trafficking in Persons’ (30th July), musician Roo Panes has collaborated with anti-slavery organisation, International Justice Mission (IJM), to create a music video inspired by the experiences of human trafficking survivors he met. It highlights the hidden horrors of this brutal trade and why we need to act now to stop it.
The ‘Warrior’ music video, which is an artistic representation of human trafficking using actors, is a pioneering way to bring the brutality of slavery and trafficking to wider audiences.
Take a watch below…
Human trafficking is the third most profitable global criminal industry in the world, generating an estimated $150 billion a year (International Labour Organisation). Sexual exploitation – the most common form of human trafficking – makes up $99 billion of those profits (ILO). Victims are often deceived with offers of false jobs or by people posing as boyfriends who then sell them into slavery.
Whilst many people think that slavery and trafficking no longer exist – the reality is that they exist everywhere, including here in the UK.
Roo Panes states: ‘I think music and video combined can communicate a message powerfully. It’s an interactive way of communicating to people, so I really hope that through these two mediums it will catch people’s attention and build awareness.’
Roo dedicated his song ‘Warrior’ to the fight against human trafficking and slavery after meeting – and playing a gig for – survivors of sex trafficking in the Dominican Republic. Many of the girls trafficked into sexual exploitation in the Dominican Republic are underage, brutally violated and unable to escape. They are often abused by Westerners, including sex tourists from the UK.
In the Dominican Republic, Roo met girls like Deisy*, who was just fourteen years old when she was rescued by local police supported by the charity IJM. She had been violated by foreign tourists, sometimes for days on end. She’s now a beautician and speaks out to ensure other girls don’t fall victim to traffickers. Deisy said ‘Freedom is something we all want, and we all deserve… no one can say ‘no, I prefer not to be free.’’
International Justice Mission is the largest international anti-slavery organisation in the world. The charity has worked with law enforcement partners around the world to rescue almost 50,000 people from slavery and oppression. IJM has seen slavery decrease by up to 86% in places where they work.
David Westlake, CEO of IJM UK says: ‘Human trafficking is a hidden plague that is stealing the freedom of millions. Every minute of every day, children are being sold into slavery – and it is possible to stop this. Creating a music video is a great way to raise the profile of this hidden issue. We know it’s possible to stop slavery and trafficking – in our lifetime – but we urgently need more people to join the fight.
‘We urge you to share this video across your social media channels and take action against human trafficking, so that everyone has the chance to be free.’
*Pseudonyms have been used to protect the identity of the survivor.
Find out more at: www.IJMUK.org