Human trafficking is a global issue that still so many people are not aware of and if they are they don’t think it happens in their “backyard”.  The traffickers will continue to exploit people until the risk outweighs the reward. The vast majority of the world is completely unaware of the depth and how far reaching the issue is.  Public awareness is key and is crucial in the battle to end human trafficking. February 23rd is Shine a Light on Slavery Day.

 

In 1776 Thomas Jefferson wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

 

The western world lives their lives blissfully ignorant that this declaration and its subsequent Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln settled this question –148 years ago. But, it did not. Slavery exists today! It is estimated that over 27 million men, women, and children are enslaved around the world. That’s more people than at any other time in recent history. From factories to brothels, private homes to fields, millions upon millions of people are living as modern-day slaves under the control of others using them for financial gain.

 

What is slavery? Slavery occurs when one person completely controls another person, using violence or the threat of violence to maintain that control, exploits them economically, pays them nothing and they cannot walk away. This is happening today across the globe, in 161 countries, including our own.

So, what does modern-day slavery look like? According to END IT’s website, the most common forms include bonded labor, forced labor and human trafficking: “Bonded labor is one of the most widely used methods of slavery. A person becomes a bonded laborer when their labor is a means of payment for a loan… Forced labor is any work or services which people are forced to do, against their will under the threat of some form of punishment. Forced slave labor is most frequently found in labor intensive, under-regulated industries such as agriculture, fishing, domestic work, construction, mining, quarrying, manufacturing, prostitution and sexual exploitation… Human Trafficking involves transporting people away from the communities in which they live and forcing them to work against their will using violence, deception or coercion.”

 

The topic of Human trafficking and bonded labour or also called Debt slave was one of the central themes of award winning director Matthew R Marshall’s independent dramatic movie Daughter of the King.  Marshall and his production company m & s Marshall Productions through the production strived to live out the themes of #Endit by trying to shine a light on the issue of human trafficking and get people talking about the issue.

 

Daughter of the King follows Ashley Miller (Debra van Gaalen) as she gets trapped in the world of modern slavery as a debt slave to a ruthless drug and prostitution lord Haydar (Florin Marksteiner) due to a financial debt that she owes him.

Marshall feels the world needs to come together to end modern day slavery once and for all. He feels what isn’t talked about enough is the supply and demand aspect of the issue. “There wouldn’t be a supply if there weren’t a demand. The demand comes mostly from men wanting to have sex. So we really need strong, powerful men talking to men about sex trafficking and the abuse of women, the objectification of women in our society. We really need that conversation to happen around the world,” Marshall says when talking about the issue of sex trafficking.

 

Human trafficking victims or those trapped in modern day slavery are bought, sold, beaten, and abused, locked in compelled service and hidden in darkness. They toil in factories and fields; in brothels and sweatshops; at sea, abroad, an at home. They are victims of human trafficking—a crime that amounts to modern-day slavery. This modern-day slavery occurs in countries throughout the world and in communities across our Nation. These victims face a cruelty that has no place in a civilized world: children are made to be soldiers, teenage girls are beaten and forced into prostitution, and migrants are exploited and compelled to work for little or no pay. “This could be a member of your family” Marshall adds.

 

The average human trafficking sex trade victim may be forced to have sex up to 20 to 40 times a day. Human trafficking is a crime that can take many forms, and one that tears at our social fabric, debases our common humanity, and violates what we stand for as a country and a people.  “What if this women was your mother, sister, or daughter. How would you feel?  We need people to see it in this context and see how close to home this issue really is,” Marshall goes on to add.

 

Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human’s against their will for the purpose of sexual exploitation, forced labour or modern day slavery. Millions of men, women, and children around the world and even right in Canada and the USA are being human trafficked. Human trafficking is one of the cruellest forms of modern day slavery and is the fastest growing. After drug dealing, human trafficking is the second largest crime industry in the world. There are over 30 million people that live in some form of slavery in the world today. That is more than any other time in our history. Including those taken from Africa during 300 years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The Globe sex slavery market generates a $39 billion dollar profit annually. Sex Slavery and commercial sexual exploitation constitutes the majority of the demand that drives human trafficking.

 

At the heart of Marshall’s film, Daughter of the King is the issue of human trafficking and debt slavery as throughout the film Ashley tries to deal with being a debt slave. All around her are girls that are in Haydar’s organization. Each with their own story of how they have ended up where they are. Many of them are not there willingly, but really having nowhere else to go. Haydar, forces Ashley to be one of his “girls” to pay off her debt. He has preyed upon women who have been thrown out on the streets, are run a ways or are running away from home. Some are drug addicts, and some are sexually abused. He takes them in and then entraps them in his web like a spider does to its prey. Women who are trafficked are often women from the streets with no home or money, some with drug addictions, others running from various forms of abuse. Some are women who owe money to people like Haydar and now have to work off their debt to be able to get their freedom.  “We all have made mistakes we have made in our lives that get us trapped in situations where we are in ‘debt’ of some kind. It might be physical, emotional, financial, and mental. We become shackled by something. The film really is about finding freedom from the sins of our lives,” Marshall goes on to say.  The film’s tag line is “Freedom by Grace” and Marshall feels that it lives up to that as he summarizes the film as “a story about shining a light into the darkness of human trafficking.  Finding hope where no hope appears to be. It being about grace, love, faith and forgiveness in the middle of terrible events and circumstances.  In doing the film myself and all those involved wanted to bring a message to the world that no matter what has happened in your past you are still like a precious gem and are valuable.”  Along with the issue of Human trafficking the film also has central themes and topics of grace, Hope and finding personal freedom from your past, and forgiveness. The film can be found on IMDB at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3174610/combined

 

Marshall asked that everyone join the movement of #endit #endslavery or #enditmovement, become a freedom fighter to draw awareness to those who suffer in a life of slavery at the hands of traffickers. Make a difference in defeating this global epidemic.

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