Email Actress Emma Thompson has played fictional characters on the big screen for 20 years, but her latest project tackles the real-life horrors of human trafficking. The project, an exhibit called "The Journey," highlights the gruesome, heartbreaking conditions many of the victims of the sex trade are forced to endure every day.
Play null "It's a domestic issue Human trafficking is a big business around the world. The women are generally forced into the life by someone they know.
Many times, a male relative will tell them that they are getting a job, she said. Once they are in the hands of traffickers, the girls are tortured and abused. The girls hand over their passports, which, Thompson, 50, said, is a big mistake. Countries such as Sweden prosecute the men involved in sex with trafficked women, which makes it easier for the victims to come forward.
Actress Inspired by Moldovan Teen The exhibit uses seven shipping containers to document the true life stories of human trafficking victims. Thompson was inspired to take on the project, in part, after meeting a Moldovan girl named Elena, whom she got to know in through her work as chairwoman of the Helen Bamber Foundation, a charity that aims to help abuse victims. Elena came to the United Kingdom after she'd been promised a good job as a receptionist.
But when she entered the country, her passport was taken away from her and she was forced into the sex trade, Thompson said. On her way to and from school, the actress used to walk by the massage parlor where Elena had been imprisoned.
The point of the exhibit is "to help people understand their plight," Thompson wrote in an article for Newsweek in March The exhibit is based on the testimony of Elena and girls in similar situations. It has had a searing impact on all who have seen it. But "Journey" also contains a message of hope. It shows how, with support and care, these courageous women can rebuild their lives," she wrote.
The Dag Hammarskjold Scholarship Fund for Journalists, an organization of journalists who cover the United Nations, will this week honor Thompson and Bamber for their efforts.