by Liza Jansen
NEW YORK, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- "Once we started to go into the first truck I just wished I was dead or something. I just kept remembering, I'm gonna be caged for the rest of my life," Angie said with a trembling voice, and looked down.
The story of Angie, an American teenage girl, featured in the world premiere of the documentary film about human trafficking " Not My Life," at New York's heart for the performing arts, Lincoln Center, on Wednesday evening.
The documentary movie, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Robert Bilheimer and narrated by Hollywood actress Ashley Judd, is the first film that takes an unflinching look at this multi- billion dollar industry, probing the dark, hidden, and often- unspeakable realities of modern day slavery, as it is stamped.
Human trafficking earns its profits "on the backs and in the beds of our planet's youth," Bilheimer said in his statement.
"We have no idea what we're dealing with, except that it's in every country in the world in some form or another," said Bilheimer. "And that, to me, is the most frightening part of all."
"Not My Life," which took four years to make, examines slavery in five continents -- from forced labor in Africa to sexual trafficking in the United States and Southeast Asia, and zeroes in on children being the vast majority of trafficking and slavery victims.
"What kind of society cannibalizes its own children?" asked Bilheimer. "Can we do these sorts of things on such a large scale and still call ourselves human in any meaningful sense of the term? "
Millions of victims each year get trapped in the cages of human trafficking which currently affects some 12.3 million adults and children, according to the Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 (TIP report), issued by the U.S. Department of State. These estimates vary though as millions of people are enslaved and exploited with no way to report their circumstances.
Whether it is the boy kidnapped to serve as a child soldier in the armed groups of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo or the migrant Cambodian woman sold into sex slavery in Thailand, the numbers remain in the shadows, as do the victims of the crime, according to the report.
Through composing the movie Bilheimer, who also directed the documentary "A Closer Walk" about the worldwide AIDS epidemic, aimed to let one better understand the world in which we live by featuring global testimony from survivors, depictions of trafficking, exploitation, and slavery.
Images of forced labor in Africa, street begging and garbage picking in India alighted Lincoln Center's lofty Alice Tully Hall.
Bilheimer got inspired by former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, who wrote that "if slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong."
"Right now, I feel what these men felt: anger, sorrow, fear, astonishment that we have even come to this," Bilheimer noted.
"Each and everyone of us is called to act. I hope that tonight each of us will make their own commitment," said Melanne Verveer, who is ambassador-at-large for global women's issues, in her speech during the screening.
Angie, the American teenage girl featured in the film, committed herself yet, by telling her story.