DIRECTED BY Len Morris and U. Roberto Romano
Wednesday, January 18
There are many things you commonly hear around children "if you keep your room tidy, youll get a quarter," "go clean up the basement and Ill give you a loonie," or "separate and dry out as much fish as possible in the next 12 hours and Ill keep your money and not throw your dead body into the sea."
Not so familiar with the third one? Unfortunately, millions of children around the world hear that and other variations of the same everyday as they are forced into labour no, make that slavery.
The message of Stolen Childhoods is simple stop child labour. The presentation is matter of fact, to the point and punctuated by testimonials from children who have escaped that world and now, without fear, tell of the way they once lived. This could also have easily been titled "Stolen Futures" because it shows that thats what is being taken from so many children and, in turn, stealing the future of the global community. And as the film points out, this isnt just a problem of 20, 10 or even five years ago this is happening today, this very minute.
Shot in eight countries, filmmakers Len Morris and U. Roberto Romano give the audience a view of a wide spectrum of mistreatment, from the coffee fields of Kenya to the sex trade of Mexico City. And over the course of the film, the dots are connected between the childrens situations, their education, their poverty and world politics.
But even with such horrific circumstances playing out onscreen, a feeling of hope and possibility remains. The film shows how those dedicated to eliminating the problem are using the tools of educational programs, rehabilitation centres for those rescued, and pressure on governments to achieve their goal.
And its a simple goal the freedom for children to be children.