The consequence of our doing nothing means that millions will continue to have their basic human rights violated.
Lusaka, 1 August 2008
The International Labour Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2007 established a UN Joint Programme on Human Trafficking in Zambia to jointly support national partners in their response to the threat of human trafficking.
Young people in Zambia will soon be learning important messages about human trafficking while dancing to a new beat. Announcing the release of their first anti-trafficking campaign theme song, the UN’s Human Trafficking Programme said in Lusaka that the pulsating song is a real departure from convention.
“To reach and educate young people, who are particularly vulnerable and who usually shun social messages, we needed an equally modern and unconventional way of getting our message across,” says Gerry Finnegan, ILO representative. “This strategy puts entertainment first, but still gets the message firmly across.”
The four minute ‘bounce-to-the-beat’ hip hop track, sung in English interspersed with three local Zambian languages, warns young people of the illegal trade in human beings and of how traffickers lure their victims with false promises of a ‘better life’. Entitled “Break the Chain”, the project started with four Zambian mega stars and has since attracted the voices of more than eight of Zambia’s ‘most happening’ hip hop artists.
“I got involved because human trafficking mostly affects the people that listen to my music,” says Chisenga Katongo, who goes by the name CRISIS. “The only way I know how to positively influence other young people is through my voice,” he says.
“To me hip-hop is more than just music; it’s a culture. It has a profound influence on young people because they happily embrace it, so what better way to educate them than through something they readily accept.”
The ILO estimates that of 12.3 million people worldwide currently forced into a life of exploitation, as domestic servants, manual labourers or sex slaves, up to half of theses are under 18 years old. “We are deeply concerned about the situation of young people and children who find themselves trafficked into sexual and labour exploitation. Zambia is grappling with two issues - trafficking within as well as across its borders,” says Josiah Ogina, IOM Zambia Chief of Mission.
Zambia is regarded both as a ‘source country’ from which traffickers recruit their victims and as a ‘transit country’ through which women and children from other countries are trafficked en route to their destination. But recent UN studies shows that young people and children in Zambia are particularly vulnerable to being trafficked within the countries borders, often moved from rural to urban areas.
“Victims are often ‘recruited to work in homes as domestic servants, or as cheap manual labour on farms, or for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. They are inadvertently handed into this exploitation by members of their own family,” says Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Representative.
“We must respond. The consequence of our doing nothing means that the human rights of millions will be violated as victims are made vulnerable to HIV infection, sexual violence, forced labour and other unspeakable forms of exploitation,” she said
CRISIS adds that he hopes “the song will move young people to decide they want to know enough about trafficking to not get trapped - this is the first step to breaking the chain.” In the song, Crisis warns that: It’s the new form of slavery; in order to fight this we need some strong brothers and some bravery…The girls, they were screaming, nobody heard their plight, they were touched in the wrong places, raped in the night.
And some died on the way… it was kinda like ‘Amistad’ how their bodies got thrown away. And finally when they arrived, they were turned into prostitutes, the way they were made to work all day with little or no pay, made to work all day with little or no pay…
The campaign message and refrain is: “Be careful who you trust, things aren’t always what they seem…break the chain, break the chain”.
The anti-trafficking hip hop anthem, which will air on radio stations, in clubs, buses and other ambient media, is set for release on August 29 2008.
For more information, please contact:
Eugenia Temba, UN Joint Programme on Human Trafficking
Tel. +26211-254-055, email: firstname.lastname@example.org