You’ve seen Sound of Freedom, now what?
The movie, “Sound of Freedom” has arrived in Australia. Released in July in the US, this movie has surprised many by ranking in the top 10 box office sales for 2023. Loosely based on events that happened in 2010, it tells the story of children being rescued from a sex trafficking ring in Colombia.
“Sound of Freedom” shows the tragedy of human trafficking and the urgent need to do something about it. Watching it should move us to compassion for children who are victims of sexual exploitation and drive us to action.
However, we need to place this emotive story in the bigger picture of modern slavery. Sex trafficking makes up about 12% of overall modern slavery, with the majority of victims found in situations of forced labour. Men forced to work on construction sites and farms, women trafficked into domestic servitude or in sweatshops, children forced to mine rare earth minerals, harvest cocoa or forced to beg. People trafficked into situations of forced marriage; trafficked for their body organs – there’s much more to this picture than the sex trafficking of children.
In the movie, the solution we are presented with is a lone ranger rescuing poor defenseless victims. Victims of modern slavery aren’t defenseless. They are some of the strongest, most courageous, and resilient people around and they deserve a better narrative than this. By far the majority of victims self-rescue – they escape on their own or are helped by local people. They are not reliant on an outsider coming to set them free.
Effective responses to modern slavery include focusing on prevention, caring for survivors, awareness raising, trauma counseling, advocacy and education. Addressing key drivers of slavery like poverty, lack of decent work and lack of access to health care is essential in building safer communities for vulnerable people. “Sound of Freedom” shows us a dramatic rescue, and while rescues still happen today, it’s not like we see in the movie. They don’t use children as bait for sex traffickers. They are done well, and in partnership with local law enforcement, with people on the ground who know and understand the context and the culture, and in a way that minimises the trauma involved in being rescued.
You’ve seen Sound of Freedom, or might be planning to soon. Make sure you don’t leave it as just another movie to add to the list – commit to doing something in response.
Here are some suggestions:
1. LEARN what is going on:
- Contact Karine, she is happy to speak with your church about how you can respond (email email@example.com)
- Visit Slavery Footprint and discover where slavery may be impacting your life
- The WEA Oceania Freedom Network is hosting two zoom debriefs open to anyone who has seen the movie and been impacted by it. This is a chance to process what you’ve seen and learn together with others. Register for one of the times below –
Monday September 4th (NZ 7.30pm/Aus 5.30pm)
Thursday September 7th (NZ 9.30pm/Aus 7.30pm)
- PRAY for an end to trafficking, slavery and oppression. Pray for victims of modern slavery and for the perpetrators. Pray for protection and strength for those involved in combating modern slavery.
- You could commit to praying regularly with a group of friends or pray-ers from your church. Email Karine for a prayer guide (email firstname.lastname@example.org )
- GIVE generously to ministries working hard to prevent modern slavery and to care for victims in their journey to healing and wholeness.
- SIM For Freedom – sim.org.au/supportforfreedom
- Hagar – hagar.org.au
- Atlas Free – atlasfree.org
- Australia focused – Be Slavery Free – beslaveryfree.com
* Adapted with permission from the original Oceania Freedom Network blog post