New short film shows scale of human trafficking in Croydon

The Traffic cast and crew Pic: Joy Grace Gilbert

The Traffic cast and crew Pic: Mind’s Eye Media Group

A youth worker has produced a short film about human trafficking in Croydon.

Joy Grace Gilbert, a youth worker for the New Life Christian Centre, made Traffic to raise awareness of the trade in humans most commonly for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour.

The 25-year-old wrote and directed the short as the first project for her own company, St.Art, which she set up last year to raise awareness of the serious issues affecting communities through the medium of performance art.

Grace Gilbert said: “It all began when I first started working for Jam Team, my church’s youth and school workers team, with them, I have been involved in running sessions alongside the charity CCAT (Croydon Community Against Trafficking).”

“I instantly felt a burning desire to raise even more awareness of this wide world epidemic, which is fast growing as the world’s largest illegal trade and the biggest form of modern day slavery.”

“While working with CCAT I learnt that Croydon, the town that I live in, is one of the largest spots for human trafficking, more than any other London borough, and that the most common victims are girls of my age and even younger.”

The main purpose of the project she says is to make people aware that there could be slaves in their own neighbourhood.

“Victims can be anyone, the offenders can be anyone, and I felt that it was necessary to make sure people know the causes of how you could easily become a victim of human trafficking.”

The short film follows the story of four people, leading ordinary lives before becoming trapped as a victim of human trafficking.

“It is a silent film, I didn’t think that it needed dialogue”, she explained. “It is powerful, but it is an uncomfortable watch. Oppression in itself is a scary thing, and because of this people turn a blind eye to it, and can be ignorant to the fact that this going on right under their noses. We need to stand up and be the voice for the voiceless, if we don’t speak up against human trafficking then who will? ”.

Traffic will be screened at the New Life Christian Centre, in Cairo New Road in Croydon, at 7pm on April 15.

There will also be a question and answer session with the cast and crew, along with members of CCAT.

The screening is free but due to the nature of content, it is only open to those over the age of 14.

By Martina Melli

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