By: Kathleen Ferraro, Communications and Membership Coordinator
This Wednesday, February 18, from 5:30-7:30 PM Niagara Foundation will partner with UNICEF US Fund to host a free, open-to-the-public film screening and facilitated discussion in honor of Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention month. The event will begin with a film screening of Not My Life, a documentary about human trafficking and modern slavery around the world. The film explores the many forms human trafficking takes, from forced domestic servitude to child soldiers. Ultimately, Not My Life equips viewers with the knowledge and empowerment to become advocates against human trafficking who can work to end this grievous and far too common violation of human rights.
In light of this event, Niagara chatted with Marshaun Montgomery, Chicago Community Engagement Fellow at UNICEF, to discuss UNICEF’s work regarding human trafficking. Montgomery described UNICEF’s objectives in dealing with human trafficking as twofold: international and domestic.
Internationally, UNICEF boasts a major campaign to end human trafficking. They work chiefly in developing countries and aim to create social policies that prosecute traffickers and protect victims. Similarly, UNICEF focuses on facilitating legislation and stable social policies that will hold traffickers accountable while also preventing further cases of human trafficking.
Domestically, UNICEF is raising awareness for the astonishing amount of human trafficking that occurs in the United States–in fact, trafficking occurs in all 50 states. The chief objective here is to alert people that modern slavery is taking place in their own community, and equipping people with the tools and recognition to identify and help local victims. UNICEF is also identifying at-risk communities and working towards stricter legislation that will again prosecute traffickers and protect victims.
Montgomery went on to describe how the objective of the Not My Life screening is to raise awareness right here in our office. Because human trafficking occurs in so many American cities, including Chicago, it is imperative that Chicagoans are not only aware of the issue, but know what to do if they encounter it.
Montgomery also emphasized the importance of building advocates in Illinois, and more broadly, the United States. With more activists on board, we can continue to spread awareness and make changes on individual, community and policy levels. Developing stricter legislation policies and pressuring sources to allocate funds to social services will help generate the laws, finances and attention necessary to fight human trafficking.
Please join us at our office for this exciting and deeply important event. For more information about the event or to register, check out our event posting. For more details about Not My Life, take a look at the documentary’s website. And for more information regarding UNICEF US Fund’s work against human trafficking, visit their End Trafficking webpage.