Unchosen is an anti-trafficking charity that organises film campaigns to raise public awareness and combat all forms of human trafficking, forced labour, sexual exploitation and domestic servitude in the UK and Ireland.
Our goal is to combat human trafficking in all its forms and make the UK a very difficult place for traffickers to operate. For this purpose, we raise awareness of human trafficking, what it looks like in the UK and what can be done by ordinary people to stamp it out.
Our vision is that the more people are able to recognise the signs of trafficking and act upon them, the more victims can be identified and referred to the appropriate support services.
Our aims are:
- To increase awareness of human trafficking and its associated causes
- To increase access to information and training
- To inspire local community activism within the anti-trafficking field
- To increase the sharing of knowledge and information
HOW WE WORK
Unchosen uses film to tell the human stories behind trafficking, exploitation and their associated causes, in communities across the UK and Ireland.
Film is an accessible and emotionally engaging tool that can get people thinking about the complex realities of human trafficking in a more direct way than written reports. All our events incorporate film screenings followed by post-film panel discussions comprising anti-trafficking experts, police and film directors.
We work closely with local authorities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community volunteers to ensure successful outcomes from all our campaigns.
Our activities include:
- Targeted campaigns and workshops with frontline workers, young people, and the general public.
- Providing up-to-date information about trafficking as well as access to resources and training through our campaigns and via our website
- Facilitating networking and the development of anti-trafficking coalitions
- Creating short films that reflect the reality of trafficking in the UK through our Human Trafficking Short Film Competition.
Unchosen was founded by Trish Davidson in 2008. It was a grassroots initiative to make people aware that slavery still exists right across the UK, not just in developing countries.
The first Unchosen film festival was initially a one-off event held in Bristol and launched by Nick Broomfield, director of the film Ghosts which deals with the tragic deaths of 24 Chinese cockle-pickers in Morecambe Bay in 2004. Ken Loach, well-known for picking up social justice themes in his films, closed the film with his feature film It’s A Free World. Organised by a small group of committed community volunteers and bringing together anti-trafficking experts, local organisations and exhibitors, it attracted more than 600 people over the course of six screenings.
Encouraged by the success and positive feedback, another festival was organised a year later. This event saw the numbers of festival-goers double, with more young people attending and around 100 volunteers signing up to continue campaigning.
Throughout 2010 and 2011, Unchosen partnered with organisations like Stop the Traffik, Amnesty International and smaller community groups to carry out a number of awareness raising events across the country.
Since then we have partnered with more than 40 NGOs and community organisations across the country and the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group has referred to us as an example of good practice in raising awareness of trafficking in the UK. We have reached more than 6,000 people – with great results: 86% of our questionnaire respondents in 2012 said that attending our events improved their understanding of human trafficking and many were inspired to get involved in community action against trafficking.
Despite our success so far we know that we have only scratched the surface.
There are still significant gaps in the provision of information, and more widespread awareness-raising outside of the sector is necessary to effectively identify and support victims of trafficking. At the same time, we know through our partnerships with frontline NGOs that the complex nature of trafficking in the UK is not always represented in the available films.
On this basis, we are holding the first Unchosen Human Trafficking Short Film Competition in 2013. Through this competition we are inviting budding filmmakers to present their creative takes on one of eight real life case studies provided by frontline NGOs.
The winning films will be taken on a road show across the UK and Ireland in 2014 to raise awareness with parliamentarians, local communities and frontline professionals. The aim of this tour is to support and complement existing anti-trafficking efforts by reaching out to areas where there is less awareness and building anti-trafficking activism at a grassroots level.