“Human Trafficking is Not Just a Third World Problem”

leeches-film-poster

Leeches, a short movie recently produced and released in the UK emphasizes that human trafficking is not just a third world problem. The movie was inspired by the director Lalit Bhusal’s own observations during his stints, first in India and later in the United Kingdom. Popular British TV and film actor Bhaskar Patel was also involved in the movie’s production.

GSDM recently caught up with director Bhusal and talked about his own journey and about the message of the movie. An excerpt:

What is the movie Leeches about? 

The movie is basically about modern day slavery and human trafficking. It tells the story of a human trafficker who is living a double standard life. The emphasis has been also to highlight that modern day human trafficking is not just a third world issue. It’s happening in other parts of the world, including Europe. 


How did the story begin? Does it anyway link to your own personal story? 

As we normally understand human trafficking is defined as ‘slave’ trading through force or by deception, where people are exploited for domestic slavery, grooming, sexual exploitation, cheap workforce etc. I first came across this when I travelled to Mumbai, India to become an actor. I noticed that many young girls and women with Nepalese background were working as prostitutes in Mumbai.

I came to know that attracted by the promise of a different future with possibility of education and money, vulnerable people, usually poor, were deceived or forced into working in a condition they would not have otherwise chosen. Basically a life of exploitation, domestic slavery, sex trade, cheap workforce, turtler, starvation and humiliation. Many young women were mothers to young children. It was heart breaking. Those young women could easily have been someone I knew, someone’s sister or  someone’s daughter. When I moved to the United Kingdom, I thought I wouldn’t come across such issues in this part of the world.

To my surprise, the horrific stories of young girls being trafficked were here too. Of course, the situation and circumstances were different, but still the girls were being lured by promises of love, excitement, deception or even were abducted by force and under the influence of alcohol. Since I keep hearing and reading such news on a daily basis, I felt I had to do something to raise awareness. I did my research and wrote a story. Before shooting the movie I tried to raise £5000 through crowd-funding which didn’t work, and finally I decided to sell my used camera and lens to raise funds for production.

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Leeches’ director Lalit Bhusal (left) with British film actor Bhaskar Patel.

 

  • Leeches was made basically to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking – that it’s not just a third world issue. Human Trafficking is a serious crime and a serious violation of human rights.

What is the movie’s message? Why should one watch it? 

Leeches was made basically to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking – that it’s not just a third world issue. Human Trafficking is a serious crime and a serious violation of human rights. I hope that this movie contributes to educating and preventing human trafficking by raising social awareness about the issue, but also by bringing about a psychological change in the traffickers.

We had a first screening of the movie recently in Birmingham. We invited all the actors and crew members, but also and officials directly or indirectly working to stop human trafficking.  We have received very positive response from our audience. 

How are you going to promote it? 

We believe that the first preview show itself was instrumental in bringing the issue of human trafficking to the fore once again. There is no doubt that if we want to end human trafficking, work like this one  must be encouraged and promoted by everyone. We have sent the movie for screening in different international film festivals around the world and there will be other shows in the future for sure.  


Tell us about yourself and you film career. Do you have any forthcoming projects?
Currently, I am a UK-based filmmaker, but my background is from Nepal and India. Back home I used to perform acting on stage and street drama, and in the UK I started my career as an actor in a Bollywood feature film in 2003. It was a very big opportunity for me, unfortunately the film didn’t get a release date at all. It was a bit stressful for me, but to feed my creativity bug I started working with a UK-based film production company as a crew member in many different roles. Some jobs were paid and some were unpaid, but what was important was that I was learning and observing the process of filmmaking. Gradually, I developed my skills as Director of photography and when I felt that I was prepared for all kind of challenge, I set up my own production company called ‘Cam Buddha Films Ltd.

Now I have a great team, amazing thing is my team is a multinational team. I mostly work with subjects that matter to communities around the world. So far we haven’t received a financial support from any funding body and all of my work is self funded.

At the moment I am on preproduction stage of my feature Film The Crushed Wings. This will highlight the issue behind forced marriages and abuse of women, and will also touch on female genital mutilation (FGM) and LGBT issues. Again funding is a big issue in the UK for a filmmaker like me. Even if we do not receive any funding, we are determined to finish our work with the limited budget that we have.

( More information about Cam Buddha Films can be found from its official website www.cambuddha.com)