It Could Be Your Life: Friday Night Film Series Examines Human Trafficking

Olivia Miller, Maroon-News Staff

On Friday, October 16, Colgate students were given the opportunity to view the documentary “Not My Life” and speak with the director upon the conclusion of the film. “Not My Life,” directed by Academy Award nominee Robert Bilheimer, is an incredibly moving film with the purpose of educating the general public about the universality and brutality of human trafficking. The film is extremely successful in motivating the audience to action. “Not My Life” is highly recommended for those hoping to become better educated on one of the most significant problems in our world: human trafficking or, as is emphasized immediately at the movie’s start, modern day slavery.

The film’s multitude of strengths resulted in its overall success, as well as its generally positive reception by the crowd. 

“The movie was a fantastic but emotional representation of the terrifying things that happen all around us. It’s amazing to think that human trafficking can happen to your friends, your classmates or your neighbors,” junior

Hannah Guzolik said. 

Arguably one of the film’s greatest strengths involved the portrayal of human trafficking’s universality. Anyone from young girls in Southeast Asia to fisherman boys in Ghana to those sold into prostitution in the United States is vulnerable. “Not My Life” definitely made it clear that this is a part of everyday life and hence it is our responsibility to act in any way, large or small.

However, the film failed to look at enough cases worldwide.

“Although this movie did a fantastic job analyzing the different forms of human trafficking around the world, I felt as if the director scratched the surface of so few cases. Instead he could have scratched the surface of all human trafficking throughout the world or done a case study on specific areas,” junior Katrina Stevenson said. “Regardless, the movie was heartbreaking yet informative.”

 Similarly, the exclusion of the little-publicized abuse of the kafala system (which causes human trafficking in the Gulf countries) felt like a major gap in the film’s scope, especially considering the director’s apparent goal to demonstrate the wide range of forms of human trafficking as well as people affected.

Overall, the film was extremely

informative and effective in portraying a topic that is difficult to address. The ability to hear more about the film straight from the director enhanced the experience. 

Bilheimer’s new project, a short which is an add-on to “Not My Life,” will be about the atrocity of the Syrian refugee crisis. Bilheimer explained that this mass migration is a breeding ground for human trafficking and that he is extremely concerned for many of these children, some of whom are sent alone from Syria. 

The goal of this project is to further his efforts in educating the world about human trafficking. “Not My Life” is both

moving and informative in its