If there is a scene we remember clearly from Slumdog Millionaire, it is the scene where vulnerable are blinded. What saves the hero’s eyes is his wonderfully terrible voice, deemed unsuitable for begging and singing on the street by the traffickers. Unfortunately, thousands of children and adults do not share the same luck and fall prey to trafficking for begging. This exploitation plagues all regions, including South East Asia, Europe, and Africa.
Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor on his interaction with the real life impact of human trafficking in India
Anil Kapoor, one of the lead actors in Slumdog, now joins a team of celebrities backing up the latest anti-trafficking campaign: The CNN Freedom Project: Ending modern-day slavery. Anil discusses his trip to an Indian village suffering from large-scale human trafficking. He speaks with CNN’s Radika Kapur. (“Slumdog Millionaire actor on fighting human trafficking”, CNN, 16 March, 2011)
Human trafficking for begging in China and Jet Li
In China, it is estimated that there are between half a million and one million stolen and trafficked children who beg on the streets. Earlier this year in February, movie star Jet Li gave his support to a social blog that posts pictures of begging children, which can then be recognized online by parents looking for their missing child.
International celebrities: UN Goodwill Ambassadors
Anil Kapoor is among the many public figures who use their social power and spotlight to bring attention to human rights violations. A myriad of celebrities have so far joined anti-human trafficking campaigns. Mira Sorvino, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, and Nicolas Cage are some of the recently appointed UN Goodwill Ambassadors.
The question of trafficking for begging under law
In early 2011, the book Trafficking for Begging: Old Game, New Name drew attention to the problem of trafficking for begging as it stands under international law, arguing for the inclusion of the exploitation in the interpretation of legal norms on human trafficking. The legal questions are far from resolved, however. Whether parents forcing their children to beg may be considered as human traffickers is an open question to which developing legal jurisprudence tries to provide an answer. In 2010 a UK court sentenced parents forcing their children to beg and steal: Romanian parents jailed for forcing their children beg and steal, (Robert Booth, The Guardian, 30 July, 2010). And as the legal and social debate on trafficking for begging is far from over, public figures’ contribution to awareness-raising campaigns is ever more needed.