The Human Trafficking Awareness Index for the UK stood at 157% which reflects 374 trafficking-related articles published by the British and Irish media during March 2014 compared to 329 the previous month. Of that total, a good percentage of articles were in relation to the film industry.
The Oscar success for British director Steve McQueen's film 12 Years a Slave offered a great opportunity to raise awareness of slavery. In his Oscar acceptance speech, McQueen drew attention to the fact that slavery is far from being a thing of the past. As reported in The Observer, McQueen, a patron of the charity Anti-Slavery International took the opportunity at the Baftas to make the point that "There are 21 million people in slavery as we sit here," he told the audience, adding that he hoped that in 150 years' time his film would not need to be made again. And, again, on picking up the Oscar for Best Picture, McQueen used his acceptance speed to draw attention to the fact that slavery is far from being a thing of the past. "I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery," he said. "And the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today."
The Leicester Mercury did a deep dive into the “21 million people” quoted by McQueen and reported that the figure comes from the International Labour Organisation and covers a number of different types of slavery which exist today. These include bonded labour in which people work in exchange for a loan which they are never able to pay off; child slavery, which is said to affect an estimated 5.5 million children; forced marriage in which women and girls are forced into lives of servitude; and trafficking where people are transported for the purpose of forcing them into slavery conditions.
Finally, The Belfast Telegraph Online reports on Emma Thompson's film Sold which is set to open the Indian Film Festival in Los Angeles. The child-trafficking drama, which stars Gillian Anderson and David Arquette, will launch the event at Hollywood's ArcLight. Thompson said: "Because of Sold's marvellous script and courageous and brilliant cast, it is a story that we can all watch - so that we may understand the processes of slavery in modern India and feel able to act without feeling the kind of rage and hopelessness that gets in the way of doing anything." Based on Patricia McCormick's novel, which features true accounts, Jeffrey Brown's film focuses on the subject of child-trafficking.
How we gather this data
The Human Trafficking Awareness Index uses the respected Nexis® service to track and analyse the volume of news articles related to human trafficking. It is hoped that the service will provide a valuable tool for campaigners looking to raise awareness of human trafficking on an ongoing basis. Activists working to combat human trafficking can use this information to highlight and raise awareness to inform their efforts and gain greater understanding of the news. The Index contains data stretching back three years to May 2010 and changes in the Index during this three year period can be used to quickly identify significant human trafficking trends.