THROUGH THE LENS OF ANCIENT SLAVERY IN WEST AFRICA, STILL SLAVES EXPLORES THE RAMPANT SLAVERY, KNOWN TO MOST AS HUMAN TRAFFICKING, THAT CONTINUES TO THRIVE ALONG THIS NOTORIOUS COASTLINE. THE FILM JOURNEYS FROM THE VIBRANT CITY OF LAGOS IN NIGERIA ON NORTH TO THE DESERTS OF MAURITANIA AND UNEARTHS THE SLAVERY THAT CONTINUES TO HAUNT SEVEN COUNTRIES IN-BETWEEN.
We are proud to announce that the documentary will be screening at the LA Femme Festival in Los Angeles! Details below.
Friday October 12th, 2018 at 10am
Regal Cinemas LA Live
1000 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015
tickets can be purchased at www.lafemme.org
Capital City, Abuja
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and most populous country. It dominates the region both economically and culturally. Nigeria gained its independence from Britain in 1960 but this independance was followed by 16 years of military rule. The election of president Buhari in March 2015 was the first time in Nigeria’s history that the presidency was changed by election. Nontraditional forms of slavery are prevalent in Africa today, mostly involving human trafficking and the enslavement of children. Nigeria is one of the top countries for human trafficking due to a particular active corridor between West Africa and Italy. Some estimate that 60% of the prostitutes in Italy come from Nigeria.
BENIN & TOGO
Capital City, Porto-Novo & Lome
Benin, along with Togo, has one of the greatest problems with child trafficking of all the countries in West and Central Africa. Child labor and sexual exploitation are the predominant forms of trafficking. For example, children are trafficked from Benin to Gabon for domestic servitude. Many children who are trafficked from Benin to other neighboring West African countries are forced to work in agricultural plantations and mines. Children are trafficked from Benin to Côte d’Ivoire to labor on plantations, work as servants, or take to the streets in prostitution.
Capital City, Accra
Ghana is West Africa’s Golden Child and one of Africa’s great success stories. In 1957 Ghana became the first Sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain independence. The country is now reaping the benefits of stable democracy in the form of fast paced development. Yet, slavery in the form of trafficking is prevalent here and the majority of the victims are children. Many can easily be identified in the upper Volta region of Ghana. The fishing industry is profitable only because of the hundreds of children that work here.
Capital City, Yamaussoukro
The Ivory Coast kept close ties with France following independence in 1960. The development of chocolate production for export and foreign investment made the Ivory Coast one of the most prosperous of the West African countries. Seventy percent of the world's chocolate supply is grown in just two countries, Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Cocoa farmers, however, can't afford to hire workers to harvest crops so many pull their children out of school to work on the plantations. Children from neighboring unstable countries are trafficked across the border into the Ivory Coast.
Capital City, Monrovia
Portuguese explorers established contacts with Liberia as early as 1461 and named the area Grain Coast because of the abundance of grains. In 1663 the British installed trading posts on the Grain Coast, but the Dutch destroyed these posts a year later. There were no further reports of European settlements along the Grain Coast until the arrival of freed slaves in the early 1800s. The freed slaves from the US, looking for a place to settle, began to arrive in Liberia in 1822. They saw themselves as a mission to bring civilization and Christianity to Africa. Thousands of freed American slaves arrived during the following years. This led to more settlement and the declaration of an independent republic in 1847. The indigenous population, however, was excluded from citizenship and suffered under forced labor and had no rights.
Currently Liberia is a destination and source country for human trafficking. "Most victims are trafficked thing the country, primarily from rural areas for domestic servitude, forced street vending, forced begging by religious instructors and sexual exploitation" (U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report, 2009).
Capital City, Freetown
The British set up a trading post in the vicinity of present-day Freetown in the 17th century. Originally the trade involved timber and ivory, but later it expanded into slaves. Following the American Revolution, a colony was established in 1787 and Sierra Leone became a destination for resettling black loyalists who had originally been resettled in Nova Scotia. After the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, British crews delivered thousands of Africans liberated from illegal slave ships to Sierra Leone, particularly Freetown. The colony gradually expanded inland during the course of the 19th century; independence was attained in 1961. Democracy is slowly being reestablished after the civil war from 1991 to 2002 that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about a third of the population). The military, which took over full responsibility for security following the departure of UN peacekeepers at the end of 2005, is increasingly developing as a guarantor of the country's stability. In March 2014, the closure of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) marked the end of more than 15 years of peacekeeping and political operations in Sierra Leone. The government's stated priorities include furthering development - including recovering from the Ebola epidemic - creating jobs, and stamping out endemic corruption.
Capital City, Dakar
Senegal is one of West Africa’s most stable democracies and has a long history of participating in international peacekeeping and regional mediation. The enigmatic capital of Saint Louis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In spite of this there is modern-day child slavery in Dakar. In 2004, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimated there were up to 100,000 child beggars in Senegal (close to one percent of the population), the majority of them talibés. According to the head of UNICEF stationed there most of those child beggars come from Guinea-Bissau. “They don’t have schools. They don’t have access to healthcare. They sleep 40 or 50 to a room. They spend all day on the street barefoot and in clothes they have worn for weeks without washing begging for money that they have to hand over at night” (Slavery Today).
Capital City, Nouakchott
In 1981, Mauritania became the last country in the world to abolish slavery, when a presidential decree abolished the practice. However, no criminal laws were passed to enforce the ban. In 2007, "under international pressure", the government passed a law allowing slaveholders to be prosecuted. Despite this, the number of slaves in the country has been estimated by the organization SOS Slavery to be up to 600,000 (or 17% of the population), and by Global Slavery Index to be at least 140,000 (or 4% of the population). Sociologist Kevin Bales and Global Slavery Index estimate that Mauritania has the highest proportion of people in slavery of any country in the world.