Lifetime Raises Awareness About a Worldwide Problem
By Jean Bergantini Grillo -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/20/2005 7:00:00 PM
Cable operators help women's network expose sex-slave trade Lifetime Television has long promoted women's health issues, specifically with its “Stop Breast Cancer for Life” campaign, now in its 11th year. But with the success of its recent miniseries Human Trafficking, the network expanded its Emmy Award-winning “Stop Violence Against Women” initiative to raise awareness of the hundreds of thousands of women and children forced across international borders and brokered for sex.
“We are so excited to partner with the Women's Funding Network and Amnesty International USA to create community conversations around this horrific crime,” says Meredith Wagner, executive VP, public affairs, Lifetime Entertainment Services. “We will help further drive the message that America cares about this issue and wants our government to take action to protect victims of abuse.”
In October, when Lifetime debuted Human Trafficking, starring Mira Sorvino and Donald Sutherland, it involved local cable operators in more than 50 house parties in over 20 states. Those were organized by The Women's Funding Network (WFN) across communities from Arizona to Wisconsin.
WFN is an association of more than 100 funds around the world that support solutions led by women and girls. Its local, national and international members, largely women and girls, have created more than $300 million in resources. Working with Lifetime and cable operators, WFN encouraged women to invite friends and neighbors into their homes to watch and discuss the Lifetime presentation.
To further drive gatherings, Amnesty International USA also created a downloadable organizing kit based on the miniseries. In unison with WFN and U.S. Women Without Borders, these kits allowed viewers not only to retrieve talking points and background information but also to obtain petitions urging support of the “International Marriage Broker Act,” currently pending in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“We knew the movie would be draining,” recalls WFN Communications Director Anita Daily, “so we wanted to empower viewers with a number of action activities.” To date, she says, more than 13,496 people have signed petitions in favor of the Marriage Broker Act.
As for Lifetime, its next community-outreach effort focuses on Lifetime Original Movie For One Night, which airs in February. The story is centered on a young teen who integrates her prom, and Lifetime is planning an essay contest with a racial-unity theme.
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