Film screening followed by discussion with director Kaitlyn Summerill
Shed No Tears is a firsthand account of the stories of trafficked children, their parents, aide workers, and traffickers, exposing the threat of child trafficking in Bénin. The rise in child trafficking is a phenomenon that spurred from the earnest African family tradition of sending children to live in the homes of extended-family members that could better provide for them. The move is sometimes celebrated as a coming-of-age event. But over the last few decades, the cultural practice has degenerated into a more brutal form. In some instances, children are treated as mere commodities. It's a phenomenon that transcends ethnic and religious divisions. In many cases, children as young as 9 years old leave their homes and finding themselves in new environments where a loving family atmosphere is replaced with oppressive work and treatment.
It is estimated that between 700,000 and 2 million people, principally women and children, are trafficked around the world every year. Children are trafficked as domestic servants, plantation laborers and street vendors, or for work in commercial enterprises, the handicraft industry and construction. In 2006, Benin adopted a new law that defines and expressly forbids child trafficking. It stipulates a sentence of 10 to 20 years of imprisonment for those who engage in child trafficking, and a life-time prison sentence in case of aggravating circumstances, such as acts of violence and assaults, deprivation of food and care, or rape. Employers of child victims of trafficking risk a fine and a prison sentence of six to 24 months.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Sponsor(s): African Studies Center
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