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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

UALR to Host Discussion, Film on Human Trafficking

The first documentary film to depict the horrific implications of human trafficking and modern-day slavery on a global scale will be shown at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9, at UALR.

The film, ”Not My Life,” narrated by Glenn Close, will be shown in Room 103 of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business and Economic Development. A panel discussion that includes local and international activists will follow the screening. The event is free and open to the public.

Louise Allison, the executive director of Little Rock’s Partners Against Trafficking Humans (PATH), will be among the evening’s distinguished guests.

Joining her will be Jeanne Cross, the incoming anti-trafficking coordinator for the Northern Network for Migration and Refugees in Penang, Malaysia; and Sydney Sample, a UALR student who is helping start an abolitionist organization on campus.

Filmed in five continents over a four-year period, the documentary takes an unflinching, yet dignified and compassionate look, at a multi-billion dollar global industry whose profits “are built on the backs and in the beds of our planet’s youth.”

According to the film’s producers, modern-day slavery thrives along transnational fault lines of extreme poverty, social injustice, political unrest and acts of violence and deprivation that are morally indefensible and extremely dangerous.

While acknowledging that trafficking and slavery are universal crimes that affect millions globally, Not My Life emphatically states that the vast majority of its victims are children. This fundamental truth raises profound questions about the very nature of our civilization, according to the film’s director, Robert Bilheimer.

“What kind of society cannibalizes its own children?” he asks. “Can we do these sorts of things on such a large scale and still call ourselves human in any meaningful sense of the term?”

The film features inspiring testimony from survivors; depictions of trafficking, exploitation, and slavery in all parts of the world including forced labor in Africa; street begging and garbage picking in India; sexual trafficking in the United States and Southeast Asia; and various forms of child enslavement and abuse in both North and South America.

Production began in early 2007 and was completed in June 2010. A world preview event was held in New York City at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall on Jan. 19, 2011.