Jen Banbury is in the Creative Services Department at the U.S. Fund.
Imagine the life of a 6-year old girl, far from home, forced to spend all day ducking between cars on busy streets and beg drivers for change. Think of what life must be like for a 12-year-old boy who works long hours every single day in a gold mine. Picture an 8-year-old girl, forced into prostitution.
These are often the fates of children who have been trafficked. Child trafficking can take many forms, but it is, in essence, a modern day slave trade.
|Not My Life”Ã¢Ž¯a documentary made with support from UNICEF and other international non-governmental organizationsÃ¢Ž¯shines a light on child trafficking.|
In the most technical terms, a child who is trafficked “is any person under 18 who is recruited, transported, transferred, harbored or received for the purpose of exploitation, either within or outside a country.” It’s a rather dry definition for a practice that is flat-out horrific. In the course of being trafficked, children are often robbed, mistreated and yoked into jobs that require toiling long hours for little or no money. And those children may be considered lucky compared to the ones who find themselves enslaved in prostitution.
An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide each year for cheap labor and sexual exploitation. Not surprisingly, the true number of victims is impossible to documentÃ¢Ž¯most children are trafficked by men and women who work very hard to keep their business a secret.
Now a new documentary seeks to draw attention to child trafficking. The documentary “Not My Life”Ã¢Ž¯directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Robert Bilheimer and narrated by actress Ashley JuddÃ¢Ž¯was made with support from UNICEF and other international non-governmental organizations. The film was shot over the course of four years in North and South America, Europe, Southeast Asia, India, and Africa and it takes an unflinching look at the multi-billion dollar industry of child trafficking.
“Not My Life” recently premiered at Lincoln Center in New York. The goal of the filmmakers is to make the film as widely available as possible to increase awareness of this terrible global practice.
UNICEF fights to protect children who are the victims of trafficking by providing them with safe havens, a chance at an education and the knowledge that they are not alone. UNICEF works with governments to pass anti-trafficking legislation and works with communities to identify and rescue children who are victims. But the problem is massive. And the more attention it gets, the better. Keep an eye out for “Not My Life” and be sure to watch it.