NEW YORK, Sept. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, MTV's College Network mtvU and a student activist from Atlanta announced the launch of the "mtvU Against Our Will Campaign," in partnership with Free the Slaves, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) and Polaris Project. This new campaign taps into the growing student movement to end modern-day slavery and makes it easy for young people to take action to help stop one of the greatest human rights atrocities of our time. Today, it is estimated that there are as many as 27 million sex and labor slaves worldwide.
Through a series of on-air, online and real world initiatives that spotlight domestic sex and labor slavery, the "mtvU Against Our Will Campaign" will shed light on our nation's role in this global epidemic. According to The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline, incidences of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 states in the past two years. Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. Sex trafficking includes instances where a child is involved in the commercial sex trade, or when adults are coerced or forced into this trade under the control of a pimp. Labor trafficking occurs when workers are forced to work against their will without pay, and can take place in a variety of industries, from farms and factories to nail salons and restaurants.
Currently, there are more than 300 student organizations on campuses around the country taking action to stop human trafficking. The "mtvU Against Our Will Campaign" will serve as a platform to spotlight student actions, connect young people with ways to get involved, and galvanize the college audience's effort to stop human trafficking.
"Young people on campuses around the country are rising up and taking action to help end modern day slavery," said Stephen Friedman, President of MTV. "As we've seen with the anti-apartheid movement and the genocide in Darfur, students are a powerful engine for social change, and mtvU is proud to give them a national megaphone to help abolish all forms of slavery in our country."
"GEMS is excited to partner with mtvU on this ground-breaking initiative," said Rachel Lloyd, Executive Director and Founder, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS). "As an agency that has effectively worked with media to deglamorize the commercial sex industry, foster awareness of the issue, and give voice to survivor's experiences, we're thrilled to extend this message to millions of college students across the country so they can raise awareness and take action against commercial sexual exploitation and domestic sex trafficking."
Elements of the "mtvU Against Our Will Campaign" include:
- "mtvU's Against Our Will: Fighting Modern-Day Slavery in the United States": MTV's SuChin Pak and Sway Calloway are hosting a half-hour, commercial-free special this fall on mtvU (date to be announced). This programming block will feature poignant interviews with human trafficking survivors and students talking about what they can do to take action to end modern-day slavery, along with excerpts from roundtable conversations with college students candidly discussing the issue.
- Programming: mtvU will premiere a series of in-depth interviews with human trafficking survivors and eye-opening discussions with college students. From exposing the role of pimps in trafficking to profiling students who are taking action to inspire change, this series of short-form features illuminates the connection between the commercial sex industry and slavery in order to lessen demand for slaves; shed light on the realities of modern-day slavery; and outline ways students can and are already taking action to put an end to human trafficking. All of this content will be available on demand at www.mtvU.AgainstOurWill.org. Additionally, throughout the year, the network will integrate this issue into some of its most popular franchises.
- PSAs: mtvU will roll out a collection of PSAs online and on-air looking at different aspects of this issue, from sex to labor trafficking.
- Human Property: symbolically explores how sex and labor trafficking victims are treated like property.
- Hotel Room: inspired by true stories of survivors, this spot addresses the demand that fuels modern-day slavery, and looks at misperceptions associated with commercially sexually exploited women and children.
- Boyfriends?: demonstrates the ways pimps use lies to coerce and manipulate children and young women into modern-day slavery.
- Hair Salon: based on a true story where girls were brought to the U.S. and forced to work in a hair braiding salon for 14 hours a day without any pay, this spot illuminates the reality of modern day slavery, and shows how trafficking victims can be in plain sight without anyone noticing.
- Slavery Footprint Campus Challenge: in partnership with Call + Response's Slavery Footprint, which is being supported by the U.S. State Department, the network is calling on students to help stop slavery in the "Slavery Footprint Campus Challenge." Students can download this new application to take actions such as checking-in at retail and restaurant locations to alert brands and business owners that they want slave-free products. The Challenge, which launched today and runs through December 31, 2011, will reward the top 10 students at the University taking the most action with a trip to attend mtvU's annual college music award show, the mtvU Woodie Awards. For full rules and regulations, please head to mtvU.AgainstOurWill.org.
- mtvU.AgainstOurWill.org: as the central hub of the campaign, mtvU.AgainstOurWill.org will provide comprehensive information on the prevalence of modern day sex and labor slavery in the U.S. Additionally, the site will outline ways students can continue the fight to stop sex and labor slavery through: raising awareness; decreasing demand for goods and services provided by trafficking victims; joining or starting a student group; supporting organizations that are fighting modern-day slavery through donations, fundraising, by purchasing survivor-made products or by volunteering to help survivors or at-risk youth; joining the discussion surrounding human trafficking legislation; encouraging their schools to adopt human trafficking curricula; and by reporting situations where they suspect trafficking is happening.
- Illuminating Student Action: mtvU will spotlight students across the country who are taking action to help stop modern-day slavery through programming and online at Act.MTV.com, MTV's blog dedicated to celebrating young people who are taking action. In the first programming spot, mtvU speaks with Chinny, a recent Kennesaw State graduate who along with her peers reported a case of suspected human trafficking at a restaurant near her school in Atlanta. As it turned out, the restaurant was part of a larger human trafficking ring, and the students' work helped to expose it.
- Student Organizing: the campaign will help students on campuses across the country continue to organize efforts to end modern-day slavery. Found on mtvU.AgainstOurWill.org, mtvU will provide a digital toolkit with tips and guidelines to support campus organizing and a blog that will feature a monthly call-to-action. Additionally, Free the Slaves staff will be available for students to use as a resource on questions regarding how to best organize effective groups to help end human trafficking.
- On-the-Ground Events: the "mtvU Against Our Will Campaign" will touch down at campuses around the country this fall and spring. Dates and additional information to be announced at a later time.
- Campaign Partners: The network collaborated with leading organizations focused on stopping modern-day slavery to develop the "mtvU Against our Will Campaign." As partners in this initiative, Free the Slaves, GEMS, and Polaris Project are official advisors for the program, and worked closely with mtvU to develop the campaign.
"Polaris Project is proud to partner with mtvU to raise awareness on human trafficking, an issue that needs a major increase in attention and resources to combat it," said Bradley Myles, Executive Director and CEO of Polaris Project. "We look forward to connecting college students with the issue of modern-day slavery, and using mtvU as a platform to inspire action and affect real change."
"College students are the future of the abolitionist movement," said Free the Slaves College Chapter Coordinator Laura Murphy. "They will become the researchers, the legislators, the social workers, the lawyers, the teachers and nonprofit leaders who will ensure a future without slavery in the U.S. and abroad."
As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of "labor or services," such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm-workers forced to labor against their will. Every year, human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people around the world, and here in the United States. Human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world. (source: www.polarisproject.org)
For more information on the "mtvU Against our Will Campaign" head to www.mtvU.AgainstOurWill.org or mtvU.com.
Broadcast to more than 750 college campuses and via top cable distributors in 700 college communities nationwide, mtvU reaches nearly 9 million U.S. college students – making it the largest, most comprehensive television network just for college students. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, mtvU can be seen in the dining areas, fitness centers, student lounges and dorm rooms of campuses throughout the U.S., as well as on cable systems from Charter Communications, Verizon FiOS TV, Suddenlink Communications, AT&T u-Verse and nearly 70 others. mtvU is dedicated to every aspect of college life, reaching students everywhere they are: on-air, online and on the campus. mtvU programs music videos from emerging artists that can't be seen anywhere else, news, student life features and initiatives that give college students the tools to advance positive social change. mtvU is always on campus, with hundreds of events per year, including exclusive concerts, giveaways, shooting mtvU series and more. For more information about mtvU, and a complete programming schedule, visit www.mtvU.com.
About Free the Slaves
Free the Slaves is one of America's leading anti-slavery organizations. We liberate slaves in hot spots around the globe, help survivors rebuild their lives, and attack the systems that allow modern slavery to exist. Our research is widely quoted by universities, governments and journalists. Our documentary films and videos about slavery, and news coverage of our innovative efforts to end it, have reached hundreds of millions of people throughout the world. Free the Slaves has student chapters at 16 college campuses across the U.S.
About Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS)
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services' (GEMS) mission is to empower girls and young women, ages 12–24, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential. GEMS is committed to ending commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking of children by changing individual lives, transforming public perception, and revolutionizing the systems and policies that impact sexually exploited youth. For more information, please visit www.gems-girls.org/.
About Polaris Project
Polaris Project is a leading organization in the United States combating all forms of human trafficking and serving both U.S. citizens and foreign national victims, including men, women, and children. We use a holistic strategy, taking what we learn from our work with survivors and using it to guide the creation of long-term solutions. We strive for systemic change by advocating for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1.888.3737.888), and providing services to help our clients and all victims of human trafficking. For more information, visit www.PolarisProject.org.
About Call + Response
Call + Response is a division of the Fair Trade Fund, Inc. We are a non-profit organization whose goal is to generate awareness and deploy action for the issues of forced labor, slavery, and human trafficking. We believe the end of modern day slavery will come from individuals who gather together to push on businesses, media, and governments to support their existing values for human rights. We believe that this is a bottom-up movement that needs dynamic information, sustained inspiration, and most importantly, tactile activation. For more information, please visit www.callandresponse.com
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 20-22 in New York City.
This year, CGI also convened CGI America, a meeting focused on developing ideas for driving economic growth in the United States. The CGI community also includes CGI U, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.