Washington, D.C. (July 31, 2012) – Calle 13 joins MTV Latin America and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) to launch a new four-episode documentary titled Invisible Slaves presenting real stories in Mexico as part of a country-wide effort between the Mexican government, private sector companies, and civil society groups to increase awareness and prevent human trafficking and exploitation among youth.
With Mexico becoming a growing destination, source, and transit country for trafficked and exploited persons, PADF supported the founding of the Alliance Against Human Trafficking in Mexico and has worked closely with MTV to fight a problem that each year affects thousands of women, youth and children, among them many migrants from Central America, who are lured by false promises of higher wages and better opportunities.
“In Mexico we are confronted not only with a human trafficking problem, but also with a growing epidemic that is destroying the lives of tens of thousands of youths. Through PADF’s partnership with MTV, this documentary provides a way to effectively communicate preventive messages that can reach vulnerable groups, especially children and youth, and alert them of the dangers. It also supports the efforts of Mexico’s national and local governments to partner more closely with civil society and the business community to reverse this modern form of slavery,” said Louis Alexander, PADF's Senior Programs Director.
“PADF is proud to have helped create this partnership with MTV as well as the Alliance Against Human Trafficking in Mexico. This effort clearly demonstrates how the public and private sectors can leverage each other’s strengths and work together to tackle the social problems that affect our communities,” said Paul Fisher, Director of Corporate Partnerships and Development at PADF.
Since 2004, MTV EXIT has produced award-winning media components on the issue of human trafficking through influential music, film, and celebrities, and distributed innovative and creative content to youth audiences in Latin America, Asia and Europe. Through successful initiatives, PADF has also been engaged in empowering youth throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and protecting human rights, particularly in countries such as Haiti and the Dominican Republic where cross-border trafficking of Haitian children for domestic servitude has been widespread.
"Once again, MTV Latin America joins the fight against this serious problem that affects all through four separate episodes in the series Invisible Slaves in which you can see very clear messages, as society do not see them very often. Traffickers exploit the desires of young people and deceive them with false promises of prosperity. Given this, many get trapped and no one notices because they think if they try to escape, they will suffer physical harm or death, "said Mario Cader Frech, Vice President of Public Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility of Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) The Americas .
Award-winning Calle 13 band members René Joglar and Eduardo Cabra will present the animated documentary titled “Esclavos Invisibles (La Animación)”—“Invisible Slaves (The Animation)”—a 18-minute production that aims to bring attention to a global issue that is affecting Latin America, but in particular Mexico where the problem is most severe. The film is expected to premiere on MTV Latin America channels in August 31 and will be available online starting today on www.matla.com.
The film includes four first-person accounts of trafficking involving Mexican and Guatemalan youths who were filmed by MTV. The broadcast of this documentary can carry a message to the younger audience that may see this problem more closely, and may make them aware that this is a serious problem that exists in our society and we should all be alert to detect it.
The first part tells the story of Jose, a Salvadoran immigrant in Guatemala, who was a victim of child neglect and exploitation from the sale of drugs. The second part is the testimony of Laura, a young Mexican woman who from age 17 was tricked and forced into prostitution and fortunately escaped. The penultimate part is the story of another Mexican named Marcela, who at 13 fell into a prostitution group after 2 years of living trapped. The latter is the story of Maria from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, who when becoming an orphan, she goes to live at a house where she becomes a victim of domestic abuse and exploitation.
Prior to the projection of the testimonials, Rene of Calle 13 sent a few words to the representatives of the media and the audience, where he reaffirmed their commitment to work to end exploitation and trafficking, which really motivates them.
Rene said: "Like you, we want to see a Mexico free of trafficking, where the voice of so many young people will never be silenced. That's why we supported MTV EXIT and the collaboration of the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) to promote this important cause. We hope that the stories of these young survivors will reach out to Mexican youth and have an impact across the country, "he said.
“Human trafficking is the slavery of the 21st century, and youth are its primary victims,” said René, who helped launch the MTV EXIT Latin America campaign with fellow band member Eduardo earlier this year at UNICEF in the United Nations in New York City. The MTV premiere of Invisible Slaves was held today in a unique function for the media in Mexico City in which were representatives of the Alliance and special guests.
Meanwhile, actress Kate del Castillo, spokeswoman for the campaign Your Voice Against Trafficking and Ambassador against Trafficking of Human Rights Commission (CNDH), an entity that is part of the Alliance, also attended the presentation of the documentary. She shared some words about her commitment to this cause and added her comments on the documentary produced by MTV Latin America and the Alliance with PADF.
"Human trafficking affects us all. Let there be no doubt. Every day is damaging our society and will continue until we all work together to raise awareness, inform, and protect the most vulnerable in Mexico: children, youth and women. Today the movement against trafficking in Mexico has grown and will continue growing with the support of partners like PADF, MTV Latin America, the Human Rights Commission and others who are part of the new Alliance Against Trafficking in Mexico. I invite others to join in this effort, "he said.
With support from Fundación Cinépolis and in coordination with Fundación Telefónica’s Proniño program, the documentary will travel to seven states in southern and central Mexico, including Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla, Hidalgo, Guerrero and the Federal District as part of the Ruta Cinépolis, a series of outdoor film presentations that will reach thousands of children, youth and families living in communities where the problem of human trafficking is acute.
The documentary is an important component of the Alliance’s “Tu Voz Contra la Trata”—“Your Voice Against Trafficking”—campaign which closely supports the broader MTV EXIT initiative. The campaign will continue to expand in Mexico through mass media broadcasts of the documentary, social media activism, a national poster campaign, and local events that involve children and youth.
Tu Voz Contra la Trata stems from the Alliance Against Human Trafficking in Mexico which includes MTV, Telefónica Foundation, Cinépolis Foundation, the Pan American Development Foundation, the National Center for Human Rights (CNDH), the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation, and civil society groups, including the Colectivo Contra la Trata, a group of NGOs that work on trafficking-related issues. Both documentary and campaign aim to increase the awareness of the risks of human trafficking and exploitation, measure the knowledge young people have about the issue, engage young people through education and calls for action to prevent further trafficking, and provide them with new opportunities to communicate through social networking platforms.
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PADF is the development and relief arm of the Organization of American States, established in 1962 to implement integral socio-economic development programs for disadvantaged people, to strengthen civil society and community groups in support of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and to aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2011, it helped more than 7.5 million beneficiaries in 23 countries. www.padf.org
About Telefónica Foundation
Telefónica Foundation contributes to social development through access to knowledge. It does so through its own innovative social programs that use information technologies and communication (TIC), in addition to collaborative networks. In 2010, Telefónica Foundation invested 80 million Euros, worked with more than 800 educational, social, public and private entities, and implemented almost 5,000 initiatives that benefitted more than 37 million people in 14 countries. www.fundacion.telefonica.com/es
Cinépolis is the world’s 5th largest movie theater circuit, operating more than 2,000 screens in 6 countries and serving more than 100 million patrons annually. The company aspires to provide its patrons the best overall experience in filmed entertainment and employs a global workforce of 13,000 people to support its mission. Founded in 1971, Cinépolis is privately held and is headquartered in Morelia, Mexico. www.Cinépolis.com
About MTV Networks Latin America
MTV Networks Latin America, US Hispanic & Canada, US Hispanic & Canada, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), owns and operates the company’s portfolio of entertainment brands which include MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and their respective properties in Spanish speaking Latin America as well as Viacom Networks Brazil. Additionally, the portfolio includes Tr3s: MTV, Música y Más in the US, which targets a broad US Hispanic audience, and MTV Networks International’s programming partnerships in Canada with Corus Entertainment for Nickelodeon and CTV Globe Media for MTV, Comedy Central and Vh1. The company’s emerging multiplatform businesses include MTVNHD and Red Viacom in Latin America as well as VH1HD in Brazil. MTV Networks Latin America, US Hispanic and Canada also serve the growing number of digitally connected consumers via its websites: www.MTVla.com, www.Mundonick.com, www.Vh1la.com, www.Vh1Brasil.com.br, www.mtvtres.com.
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Hearly G. Mayr
Director of Communications and Public Affairs, PADF