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UNIS screens film Sestre

A screening of the film, Sestre, was organized last week by the United Nations Information Service ( UNIS) Vienna; to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25). Following the screening there was a discussion with the producer of the film, a UNODC representative from the Anti-Trafficking and Smuggling Unit, and the Chief of Mission from IOM in Serbia. The Serbian production is about two sisters who fall victim to traffickers and their struggle throughout their enslavement, as well as the difficulties they encounter once they have escaped. Sestre is supported by the Blue Heart Campaign Serbia has recently adopted.

 

 

Sestre was first released in Serbia in April 2011 in 14 cities throughout the country. Discussions were held after the screenings to stimulate awareness on human trafficking. The film is used as an educational tool to promote human trafficking awareness and highlight current issues involving human trafficking in Serbia.

 

Since April, the film has been viewed in surrounding countries and was aired on national television, in which approximately one million viewers tuned in for the showing. Those involved in the production of the film have been in contact with the Ministry of Education and hope to incorporate the film into Serbia's high school curriculum.

 

The film was made in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and is meant to serve as a training tool for judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement. It illustrates the judicial process in Serbia, in which the defendant is able to confront the witness/victim during court proceedings. This can result in witness intimidation, causing the witness to recant his or her story. People behind the production are hoping with the use of this film, the judicial process can be altered. Therefore allowing video testimony (which is currently allowed in Organized Crime Courts in Serbia), to minimize the stress of victims and witnesses throughout the trial process.

 

Aside from the training purposes for officials, Sestre is also meant to send a message to the general public. It informs young adults on the dos and don'ts of migration and seeking jobs abroad. In addition, it is meant to reach the part of the population that frequents brothels; to serve as a reminder that things are not always what they appear to be. And in fact, behind the dancing and the smiles women may be in these venues against their will.

 

For more information on the film please cick here for an interview with the producer, Bojana Maljević.