Art Imitates Life: “Baby Sellers” Reveals Worldwide Human Rights Abuses

Panelists discuss human trafficking after the screening of "Baby Sellers" in the UN's Economic and Social Council Chamber. Onscreen: NY chief of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Simone Monasebian and prolific producer Richard Halmi, Sr.

Panelists discuss human trafficking after the screening of “Baby Sellers” in the UN’s Economic and Social Council Chamber. Onscreen: NY chief of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Simone Monasebian and prolific producer Richard Halmi, Sr.

On Monday night, Peace Boat US Director Emilie McGlone, Volunteer Rachel Clark, and myself (Helen Hope Rolfe, Intern) were distinctly privileged to attend an advance VIP screening of the Lifetime Original Movie “Baby Sellers” at United Nations headquarters here in New York City. The evening’s more glamorous aspects—the film’s star, Jennifer Finnigan, was in attendance, along with representatives from Permanent Missions to the UN—belied the truly disturbing subject matter presented in the film. “Baby Sellers” exposes the dark and widespread phenomenon of infants who are kidnapped or sold, transported across international borders without regard to their safety, and passed off to adoptive parents as “orphans” in need of a good home.

While the characters and specific events depicted in “Baby Sellers” are fictional, a post-screening discussion panel (composed of the film’s creators and experts from relevant NGOs) stressed that human trafficking is all too real. It is estimated that 1.2 million children are trafficked each year, but they are not the only victims: right now, the human rights of countless adults are being abused by traffickers who enslave people for use in the global sex trade or as forced laborers—or even seize their organs to sell through the black market.

We might like to think that slavery is merely a shameful relic from the nineteenth century, but the truth is that it is still happening every day, and often right under our noses. Did you know that most of the demand for illegally trafficked infants comes from the citizens of developed countries like the United States? However, even such an overwhelmingly huge problem as human trafficking can be overcome if we all vow to do one small thing at a time.

If you too want to see this modern form of slavery eradicated forever, all of us here at Peace Boat US have two suggestions for you. First, tune in to the television debut of “Baby Sellers” this Saturday night, August 17th, at 8 pm Eastern Time (7 pm Central Time) on Lifetime—awareness is the first step to tackling any injustice.

Second, be sure to join us at the Empire Hotel’s Rooftop Bar and Lounge for “Heartbeats on the Rooftop” this coming Sunday (August 18th) from 5 pm to 12 am. For a $30 donation to Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS), you can enjoy live music, interactive art, and the knowledge that you’re helping sex trafficking victims receive counseling, basic essentials like clothing, and assistance obtaining their GEDs. Visit heartbeats-gems.eventbrite.com now to get your ticket and join the fight against human trafficking! Or you can learn more about GEMS’ efforts to rehabilitate survivors of sex trafficking at gems-girls.org.

After the screening. Left to right: Helen Hope Rolfe, Rachel Clark, and Emilie McGlone.

After the screening. Left to right: Helen Hope Rolfe, Rachel Clark, and Emilie McGlone.

 

This blog post was written by Helen Hope Rolfe, intern at Peace Boat US. All photos courtesy of Rachel Clark.

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