LOS ANGELES, October 14, 2005 The Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (EIC), is launching a new effort to encourage film and television producers to incorporate accurate depictions of "human trafficking" in entertainment products, according to Brian Dyak, EIC President/CEO. This comes on the heels of a new poll conducted by EIC and Lifetime Television that shows that 55% of Americans believe that human trafficking is a major problem within our borders, and 45% actually feel it is happening in or near their own communities.
Dyak points to Lifetime Television's two-part miniseries, "Human Trafficking," starring Academy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino and Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor Donald Sutherland, as an example of programming that helps raise further awareness of the battle to rescue victims enslaved in America. The miniseries premieres on Lifetime on October 24 and 25 at 9PM (ET/PT).
The story is a tough, uncompromising drama about the brutal realities behind the international trafficking and brokering of women and children for sex. The miniseries and poll, and an extensive public education initiative (including PSAs, viewers' guide and college campus events), were all developed with the help of a wide range of anti-human trafficking advocates and are a part of Lifetime's Emmy Award-winning campaign "Stop Violence Against Women."
The hope is that productions dealing with this issue will raise awareness among the viewing public of this little known yet widespread societal problem. EIC will disseminate information on the issue through briefings it holds regularly with production companies and Hollywood's creative community, and printed materials it disseminates throughout the industry.
The new poll, which was conducted in conjunction with Equality Now, the International Justice Mission, Tahirih Justice Center, Vital Voices, Polaris Project, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the National Domestic Violence Hotline, comes at a critical time since the House and Senate have both passed The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA). IMBRA was inspired in part by the murders of two young women in Washington State, Susanna Blackwell, a Filippina, and Anastasia King, a native of Kyrgyzstan, by husbands they met through brokers.
"One of the strongest tools we have in the fight against human trafficking and the international marriage broker industry is public education. Once people are made aware, and those suffering learn they have options, chances are significantly greater that victims will be helped and lives saved," said Tahirih Justice Center Executive Director Layli Miller-Muro.
Added Meredith Wagner, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs, Lifetime Entertainment Services, "We hope this research, as well as our miniseries, will help further drive the message that Americans care about this issue and want our government to take action to protect victims of abuse."
"Lifetime's 'Human Trafficking' is an important film that demonstrates the entertainment industries' proactive role to educate and advocate for public policy addressing critical health and social concerns," said Dyak. " Television programs and movies can drive awareness for the need to regulate human trafficking and the violence associated with the atrocities of this practice," said Dyak.
The Entertainment Industries Council, Inc., a non-profit organization, was founded in 1983 by leaders of the entertainment industry to bring the power of the industry to bear on health and social issues. Among the issues EIC addresses are: drug, alcohol, and tobacco use and addiction; firearm safety and injury prevention; sun safety; human trafficking; terrorism and homeland security; mental health, including bi-polar disorder; and HIV/AIDS prevention. EICs websites are located at http://www.eiconline.org and www.prismawards.com.
Lifetime Entertainment Services: LIFETIME is the leader in women's television and one of the top-rated basic cable television networks. A diverse, multi-media company, LIFETIME is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment and information programming, and advocating a wide range of issues affecting women and their families. LIFETIME Television, Lifetime Movie Network, Lifetime Real Women, Lifetime Home Entertainment and Lifetime Online are part of LIFETIME Entertainment Services, a 50/50 joint venture of The Hearst Corporation and The Walt Disney Company.