A powerful, new documentary film depicting the horrifying and dangerous practices of human trafficking and modern slavery on a global scale airs this weekend on CNN.
Oscar-nominated director Robert Bilheimer says the movie could be key to unlocking public awareness and calls for action.
"People do not recoil from this. They are angered by it and horrified by it. I think it's genuinely possible that we can move the dime on this, that we can put this in the forefront of the public consciousness. That's all you need," he said.
Filmed on five continents over four years, "Not My Life" shows survivors and anti-traffickers with dignity and compassion, and depicts the unspeakable practices of traffickers.
"Not My Life" 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.
Bilheimer said: "The potential of "Not My Life" is in its timing – in that it's a time when all these anti-traffickers and law enforcement and government people are coming together, and then there are things like the CNN Freedom Project.
"I think the ground is fertile, and I think "Not My Life" really does have an exceptional opportunity to push to that proverbial tipping point.
"If we are successful in getting this film before the eyes of the millions we are trying for, and if we do make it accessible, then it can become viral, and that may be this one time we can create an example of how a film, literally can change the world."
While acknowledging that trafficking and slavery are universal crimes, affecting millions of human beings all over the world, "Not My Life" zeroes in on the fact that the vast majority of trafficking and slavery victims are children.
This fundamental truth raises profound questions about the very nature of our civilization, says Bilheimer, who was nominated for an Oscar for his anti-Apartheid "Cry of Reason" documentary.
"What kind of society cannibalizes its own children? Can we do these sorts of things on such a large scale and still call ourselves human or civilized?" he asks.
And one leading face of the anti-Apartheid movement, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, offers an answer. In "Not My Life" he observes: "Each one of us has the capacity to become a saint."