Monday, December 29, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

Last night I had the opportunity to watch Slumdog Millionaire, no doubt one of the best films of the year. I was surprised to be confronted with human trafficking as a major theme. It’s funny because, depending on the city you live, the film has been out for nearly two months and usually I receive a slew of emails about ‘this new trafficking film’ or ‘that show about modern-day slavery’. Not once have I been told, “go see Slumdog Millionaire because touches on human trafficking.” Not once.

I truly enjoyed Slumdog. Slumdog didn’t try to package itself as a movie “about human trafficking”. It certainly was. But it didn’t need to make the statement bluntly and it shouldn’t have. It’s our job to learn and understand the context and story for what it is: a story about human trafficking.

Slumdog isn’t perfect, no film about trafficking (or any subject) is. But it comes close. It deftly paints a stinging reality in our world, the trafficking of children for the purpose of exploitation through begging, forced sex and more.

Our job as backyard abolitionists -you and me- is to give name and meaning (visceral understanding) to the crime and work to end it in our neighborhoods and around the world.

-Mark Wexler

Friday, December 5, 2008

Policy Reform Suggestions

To effectively combat human trafficking as a cohesive movement we need to continuously evaluate and urge policy reform so we can better serve and protect human trafficking victims. To do this we have partnered with other leading abolitionist groups across the country; together comprising the Action Group to End Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery. Over the past year the Action Group has endeavored to create a transitions report for the next presidential administration. In this document we outline our specific recommendations for President Elect Obama as well as suggestions for each Governmental agency working to combat this issue.

The United States government has led the global fight against human trafficking and we hope through reform the Obama Administration will continue to develop and define what this leadership role entails.

A few recommendations from the Action Group to End Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery and the Not For Sale Campaign include:

Interagency Coordination and Leadership:
Given the width and complexity of this issue and the United States’ efforts to oppose human trafficking nationally and internationally, a Presidential Directive should be enacted to improve coordinated efforts and establish executive oversight and accountability for the various governmental agencies working to combat it.

To address trafficking within corporate supply chains the next administration should assemble international and domestic sector leaders representing businesses, workers, and advocate organizations to encourage the private sectors’ engagement in this issue.

The State Department’s Tier II Watch List should be reformed to support innovative initiatives for countries within this list. Additionally, a two-year limit should be enforced for countries on this list to either progress to Tier II or regulated to Tier III.


Specific measures to protect trafficked minors from being unjustly charged and processed within the juvenile offenders system needs to be established, and the provision requiring victims to cooperate with law enforcement needs to be disassociated with services provided to victims.


Increased executive branch support for state and local law enforcement training to identify and investigate human trafficking cases.

To read the full Transition document you can download it at our political action center. CLICK HERE

We need you to add your voice to ensure that the Obama Administration understands combating human trafficking should to be a priority. Sign our online petition appealing to the Obama administration to take an active role in combating this issue.

Kilian Moote
Program Director