This weekend, I went to see Slumdog Millionaire. What a film. I was both impressed and astonished by what I saw, and not only because Slumdog Millionaire is not, repeat not, the ‘feel-good film’ that the posters say it is. Instead of the humorous, cheesy movie I was expecting, with perhaps a good song or two thrown in for good measure, I sat up to the terrifying issues that Slumdog raised about slum life in an urban metropolis. Harried on all sides by thugs and criminals, Jamal’s struggle to live freely turns into a fierce fight for survival.
There are some who worry that the film portrays Mumbai poorly. In particular, the issue of the kidnapping racket at the beginning of the film has caused a real stir. But the shocking reality is that Mumbai currently is one of the biggest destination cities for trafficked women and children in the world. Women and children are trafficked into Mumbai in a number of ways, for a number of reasons. Highest among these ranks the sex industry and forced domestic or factory labour. Mumbai’s slum population is teeming with migrants from rural parts of India. Poor, illiterate, and desperate to earn a living that will support dependant relatives at home, the empty promises of traffickers can lure the unsuspecting into enslaved conditions just the way we see Jamal and his brother tempted by Coca Cola into the hands of their kidnappers.
It isn’t easy to consider these terrible realities – which certainly do exist – in a criminal underworld in which the poorest of the poor are trapped. But to its credit, Slumdog Millionaire has created the opportunity for vital conversation and discussion about the invisible crime of human trafficking. Awareness is the first step towards action. So please tell us what you thought about the film!nt to see