NEW DELHI: Not my life, perhaps the first-ever film on human trafficking made on a global scale, will have its international premiere on Doordarshan. It will be aired on 29 June at 9.30 pm.
Directed by Oscar nominee Robert Bilheimer in collaboration with eminent filmmaker Mike Pandey of Riverbank Studios, the film made in five continents depict the harsh realities of human trafficking on a global scale.
The telecast of the 56-minute documentary dubbed in Hindi has been sponsored by Carlson and the Carlson Family Foundation.
Even as human trafficking remains a major curse in this country as in the rest of the world, the conviction rate as against the cases filed was a mere 0.6 per cent last year, according to Kailash Satyarthi of Bachpan Bachao Andolan who has been interviewed in the film.
Though an American report claims that 15 per cent of the cases relating to human slavery are solved every year in India, there is unfortunately very little sympathy or support for those who are fighting against human slavery often at the cost of their lives.
“Indian children go missing in India every eight minutes”, said Satyarthi, one of the prominent human rights activists interviewed in the film. “These children become slaves. They work in factories and in brothels, and they number in the millions.”
At a press meet held, Satyarthi called for an End Child Slavery Week globally from 20 November. The meet was addressed in addition to Satyarthi by Doordarshan director general Tripurari Sharan, eminent filmmaker Mike Pandey, K B Kachru of Carlson and the Carlson Family Foundation, and Smitra Mishra of iPartner India.
A heart-rending film that moved all those who saw it, Not My Life is a co-production of Worldwide Documentaries, and Riverbank Studios in Delhi. The film was filmed on five continents in a dozen countries over a period of more than four years.
Speaking on the occasion, Doordarshan Director General Tripurari Sharan said Doordarshan had joined the endeavour to take the film to the remotest corners of the country and overseas where it is seen, so that it can create the right kind of impact about the horrors of human trafficking. He said only a public service broadcaster could do this kind of work.
Plans are already underway for a re-broadcast of Not My Life on DD in November, along with an Indian premiere of Not My Life in New Delhi, and the announcement of a three-year community-based awareness campaign designed to radically alter how Indians from all walks of life understand, and respond to, human trafficking and modern slavery crimes.
Mike Pandey of Riverbank Studios who co-produced the film said the Earth Matters Foundation is actively involved in creating awareness amongst the common people about the problems around them, whether they relate to human slavery or to the degradation of the earth. He said the film emphasised “the urgent need for a nationwide collective effort at all levels if we want slavery to end. This alone will ensure a secure future for our children and a life without fear”. He said the problem existed in at least 190 countries and the film had attempted to cover some of these including India.
Speaking about the fourth season of ‘Earth Matters’ which has also commenced telecast every Sunday morning at 10.30 am, he said the idea was to bring ‘citizens’ science to people”.
Kachru who is Chairman in South Asia of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group said there were reports of no less than 26 million human slaves globally. “Carlson and the Carlson Family Foundation have been championing and supporting this cause for the last 10 years as part of our efforts to be a responsible business in the global communities that we operate in. As a leader in the hospitality and travel industry in India, we are in a unique position to influence and effect change. We urge more businesses to join us in intensifying efforts to fight against human trafficking.”
Mishra of iPartner India, one of the NGOs spearheading the nationwide awareness campaign being launched with the DD telecast of Not My Life, said the film was a grim reminder that ‘we are not doing enough’. She said an amount of Rs 100 million had been raised to fight this menace but had resulted in saving around 20,000 human slaves in the last five years.
Doordarshan additional director general V K Jain said the film was a touching reminder of the long road ahead to save millions of human slaves and particularly women being trafficked all over the world.
In a message sent on the occasion, filmmaker Robert Billheimer said, “This project was, and is, a labor of love. We kept asking, who will speak for those who cannot speak for themselves? In the end we felt that making Not My Life was not only our job, but our mission, because far too much silence still surrounds this issue.”
Carlson, a global travel and hospitality company is a signatory to the ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) Code of Conduct and the UN Global Compact, furthering its commitment to human rights and Responsible Business. Carlson is also a founding member of the Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking. The Carlson Family Foundation has a strong tradition of being rooted in the philosophy of its founder, Curtis L. Carlson.
India is widely recognized as having the world’s largest number of trafficking and slavery victims, many of whom are children. Exploitation and slavery in India includes sex trafficking, and multiple forms of slave labour. But India is by no means alone as a country where children, women, and men are trafficked within, or across, a nation’s borders.
Not My Life is the first film to depict the cruel and dehumanizing practices of human trafficking and modern slavery on a global scale. It takes viewers into a world where millions of children are exploited, every day, through an astonishing array of practices including forced labor, domestic servitude, begging, sex tourism, sexual violence, and child soldiering.
Challenging though it may be, Not My Life's message is ultimately one of hope. Victims of slavery can be set free and go on to live happy and productive lives. Those who advocate for slavery victims are growing in numbers, and are increasingly effective.