Human-Trafficking Documentary Airs
Editor’s note: Mary Beth Coudal, a writer with the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, shares this commentary on “Lives for Sale,” a documentary produced with funding from United Methodist Women’s Mission Giving. The program will air on PBS stations at various times during 2007. To find out air timings in your area, check local listings or call the local PBS station.
by MARY BETH COUDAL*
Yanori Ramirez, a mother from Honduras, waits in the rain to hop on a freight train that will take her to southern Mexico and then the United States.
If Ms. Ramirez survives the ride, she may make it to the Mexico-U.S. border. She may then have to withstand harsh weather. She may be turned back. She may be able to work in the United States, or she may become indentured to human traffickers.
The latter happened to Lucita from Mexico and Esperanza from Guatemala.
Stories of women like Ms. Ramirez, Lucita and Esperanza are told in the recently released documentary, “Lives for Sale,” a one-hour film supported by United Methodist Women’s Mission Giving.
Throughout the documentary, viewers meet Latin American women who struggle so their children can survive and thrive. These women’s sole aim is to send their children to school, an opportunity they missed.
The film also introduces U.S. women, including Anna I. Rodriguez who has prosecuted human traffickers and provided safety and education for the women freed from sexual slavery. Ms. Rodriguez calls human trafficking, “The most evil crime I have seen in my years in law enforcement.”
The film features detectives, pastors, U.S. attorneys, fair-trade coffee growers, border-patrol agents and human smugglers.
The movie, though dire in its subject matter, offers hope. For example, Mark Adams, pastor of Frontera de Cristo, provides water at hydration stations for immigrants in the wilderness.
“There were people who didn’t think it was right to give water to the thirsty,” Mr. Adams says. “And people who thought that it was their fault if they died. They were ‘illegal.’ As a community of faith, that’s ludicrous for us to believe that anyone should die for trying to find a better way of life for their families.”
The movie is a must-see for anyone who seeks a larger understanding of the hot-button political issue of immigration. It is also essential viewing for anyone who has or will study globalization in schools of Christian mission. “Lives for Sale” presents a human and compassionate face to the people who try to enter the United States through its Mexico border.
“Lives for Sale” will air on local PBS stations throughout 2007. Contact your local PBS station or visit its website for schedule details. Scheduling information is also available at www.livesforsale.com.
“Lives for Sale” is available on DVD with study guide at www.livesforsale.com. It can be used for United Methodist Women unit and circle meetings.
For information on United Methodist Women’s support of this project, read “Division Supports PBS, Hallmark Film on Human-Trafficking”.
*Mary Beth Coudal is a staff writer for the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.