Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Documentary on Trafficking to be Screened in New York City

I was first drawn to the film Fatal Promises by the outstanding outreach effort of Anneliese Rohrer, who contacted HTP about posting information about the film's upcoming screenings in New York City. Upon taking a look on the film's website, I noticed a host of familiar faces and stories from both Ukraine and New York State in the film's preview. Last night, I had the privilege of speaking with Kat Rohrer about the making and upcoming screening of Fatal Promises, which Kat directed. The film provides a "comprehensive look at the realities of human trafficking versus the rhetoric of politicians and pundits who claim to be making significant strides in combating this horrific crime against humanity." The title, according to Rohrer, represents the fatal promises made by traffickers to their victims and the seemingly empty promises made by the international community to stop the crime and assist victims.

The synopsis of the film does not exaggerate when it states that the film is comprehensive: it covers the crime as it exists in both sex and labor trafficking with the stories of both male and female victims, a defining reality of trafficking that is often overlooked. When asked about how this film will make its own unique mark in the anti-trafficking media and film, Ms. Rohrer referred to this aspect of the film, and of the film's additional focus on the "hypocrisy on every level in every country "often put forward by lawmakers who lack the political will to put pen to paper when it comes to drafting effective anti-trafficking laws.

This is Rohrer's first feature film, and is the culmination of over four years of research and collaborative efforts. Her inspiration from the film started from a New York Times article in 2005, and she decided to do something through film, her expertise. This was followed by fact-finding missions to Ukraine and other areas of Europe and around the United States where Rohrer interviewed victims, stakeholders and activists like Emma Thompson and Gloria Steinem. Rohrer even utilized tools like Google Alerts on "human trafficking" to receive news about upcoming events in the counter-trafficking field that helped her connect with activists in the US. Some of the activists and organization are now featured on the film's website (a great idea for other individuals looking for continuously updated news on human trafficking).

I was particularly moved by Rohrer's description of the interviews that she and her crew conducted with a victim by the name of Katja, who was victimized in a suburban US neighborhood and now speaks about her experiences on major news networks and even testified to Congress. Rohrer credits Katja for being instrumental to the creation of the film through her strength and courage to work with the crew and share her story.

Today (Sep. 15) kicks off a week of screenings in New York City at the School of the Visual Arts Theater. This will then be followed by a week of screenings at Cinema Village and trafficking related events including panel discussions featuring activists and NGO representatives. Rohrer continues to work closely with Emma Thompson and the unique art installation "Journey." We will hopefully be seeing the two unique media displays together in several cities around the US. Rohrer stated there are several follow-up actions being planned for after the NYC screenings, including the possibility of an amended film for the European market to include more information on the destination countries in Europe.

For individuals looking to get involved, the film's website offers numerous outlets for people who want to contribute to the cause. Some of them include:

Attend the screenings! All participants will receive tools to help them report trafficking and create awareness. TIckets for the Cinema Village screening can be purchased here.

Purchase handmade jewelry from Justice Juels. Proceeds will benefit Faith, Hope, Love, a victim services agency in Odessa, Ukraine. This is an organization from which Rohrer and the film's crew gained a lot of valuable insight and information. They provide comprehensive victim services, and their efforts have been recognized by multiple international organizations.

Listen to the new song by Felicia Alima featuring Chino called "Trade."

To receive regular updates on how you can get involved or attend related events, please sign up for their newsletter (Contact: fp@greenkatproductions.com) and Facebook page.

The preview at the beginning of the post was embedded from Kat Rohrer's blog and is also available on the website of Fatal Promises.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for being so vigilant on these issues. Human trafficking is a hundred times more perlous and threatening in the third world - yet no concrete steps were taken yet!