Imagine eating, sleeping and working in a small, claustrophobic cell with another person for ten years and being expected to produce handcrafts for your owner. Actress Ashley Judd asked one such man how he coped. He told her he kept himself going by taking pride in what he creates; by ensuring that he can send "something beautiful" out into the world.

Call + Response is captivatingly impelling. It echoes the relentlessly consistent call that is resonating through pulpits, music and movies these days urging us to wake up and respond to the desperate needs around us.



By highlighting what they call "the world's 27 million dirtiest secrets", this award winning documentary tackles the front line of human slavery: sex slavery, labour slavery, child soldiers, and child slavery.

When the church of the future looks back to our place on God's timeline they will surely say, "The early 21st century church broke free of the apathy they had been lulled into; recovered from the shock of finding that large groups of people sought their extinction and drew a line in the sand that said this far and no more!"

That is what Call + Response is, a line in the sand. It is a very eloquently styled declaration, taking the form of a "rockumentary", that says enough is enough.

By highlighting what they call "the world's 27 million dirtiest secrets", this award winning documentary tackles the front line of human slavery: sex slavery, labour slavery, child soldiers, and child slavery.

Director/producer Justin Dillon encountered the issue of human trafficking while touring Russia. He was appalled by the extent to which traffickers would go to lure innocent young girls. The promises of exotic destinations and training for farcical jobs; as well as the ease with which these girls, hopeful of a better life, succumbed moved him to action.

Without experience in film, it was dogged persistence and a belief in what he was doing that eventually opened the right doors for Justin.

His belief that "most of the popular music today is rooted in the music of the slave fields in America," inspired his plight. He cold-called agents, managers and recording artists, petitioning them with the idea that, "popular music owes a debt to the issue of slavery." Gradually a groundswell of support grew, including support from actress and activist, Daryl Hannah.

Eventually Madeleine Albright, Ashley Judd, Julia Ormond, Switchfoot, Natasha Bedingfield, Imogen Heap, Moby, Cold War Kids, Five for Fighting, Matisyahu, Talib Kweli, Cornel West and many others, also came on board.

Call + Response gives us the facts but in a uniquely impacting way. As one reviewer explains, "I felt I was watching a documentary and a concert broke out!"

Stories typifying the plight of the many millions enslaved are told through song and the anecdotes. We learn of the connections between drugs, arms and people traffickers, and the billions of dollars of profit that have extinguished the consciences of those that seek to gain from the trade.

In a sense, as actress Julia Ormond says, slavery is the "perfect crime!" She added, "When you buy a person and you set them to work you own them and their entire productive capacity. If you sell a drug you have sold it; it is gone. You can sell people again and again and again."

Former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, informs us that there are cartels and various organisations across borders who cooperate in order to traffic people and says, "this has to stop!"

American actress, Ashley Judd further explains, "The system is vast, it is corrupt, it is powerful, it is ruthless; and it's lethal. The corruption is at the lowest echelons because human trafficking has to exist out in the open so that the demand can access the supply. The men have to know where to go or they don't generate the economy. So it is the petty officials who are corrupt, as well as the people on the borders who allow them to be porous so that human beings can be trafficked across national lines. And then of course it is corrupt up to the highest levels as well."

After watching Call + Response we cannot ignore the fact that:

• There are more slaves today than ever before in human history;
• Slave traders made more money in 2007 than Google, Nike and Starbucks combined;
• The slave trade is the "single most lucrative commercial enterprise in the world."

Traffickers expertly entrap their victims through violence and emotional manipulation. Rape is often used to destroy self worth, especially in Asia. By rendering girls worthless or impure they are able to shame them into submitting to their new world. Drugs are also used, ensnaring them through addiction. In fact, any method that will "systematically crush and destroy wills" is employed.

Exhaustingly, the world of slavery has many tales of devastation; they can be unbearable.

Call + Response, however, offers an opportunity to be part of a bigger solution.

Looking for solutions 

"There is a certain wistfulness about the past," says Gary Haugen, founder of the International Justice Mission, "the struggle for civil rights in the United States; the struggle against slavery...Gosh, I wish I could have been around during those days...I wish could have been a hero in some way, even in a small way, during the struggle for justice."

"All that wistfulness is totally needless because those urgent battles are taking place in our world now."

Mr Haugen is also the author of several books on faith and human rights and has spoken elsewhere, of the new era he believes the church is entering into: "The Spirit is inviting the church into a new era of advocacy that is as significant as the global missions movement of the past 150 years and the relief and development movement of the past 50 years. The need is no less great, nor the biblical mandate any less fundamental."

I believe this movie is an important part of a momentum that is thankfully building at an enormous rate. Definitely a must see! If you are looking for opportunities to transform the world you live in then here is a great starting place.

If you want to be part of the growing 21st century abolition movement, visit the website below to find out more.

There are some simple ways to become involved in the fight against slavery. Find out how your clothes are made. Are they made by slaves? Is the coffee you drink the product of forced labour - or the sugar you put into it? Find out which producers of cocoa, cotton, coffee, jewellery, fireworks, beef, timber, sugar, cell phone components and numerous other consumables are supporting slavery.

As Ashley Judd says, "I don't want to wear someone else's despair or eat some else's tragedy!"

The "call" is for audiences to "hear" and to "take notice" - to embrace the discomfort that the testimonies and the enormity of the human trafficking problem stirs within.

The "response" that is hoped for is for each of us to get involved by being informed and by seeking out ways to be part of the solution. Perhaps by praying, learning and becoming wiser so that we can give effectively into areas of greatest need.

For cinema dates in Australia, see

To find this movie in a cinema near your or to host a screening contact Heritage HM email: [email protected]
Phone: (07) 5438 8791

This article was first published on Assist News Service.