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.