Spirited Away (Human Trafficking)


Spirited Away is one of the animated masterpieces
to come out of Studio Ghibli, and is revered by many as some of the best work by Hayao
Miyazaki. It is the story of a young girl who finds
herself trapped in the fantastic and often frightening spirit world. Chihiro is in the process of moving to a new
town with her family when they come across an abandoned theme park. “Honey, get back in the car, we’re going to
be late!” They decide to explore the ruins of the place. But Chihiro’s parents end up trapped, and
are turned into pigs after consuming the food meant for the spirits. In an effort to save her family, Chihiro goes
to the bath house to speak with the owner of the establishment, Yubaba. Chihiro ends up becoming a slave for the bath
house. Yubaba even reclaims her name, and gives her
a new one, Sen, as a way of controlling her. “And it belongs to me now. From now on, your name is Sen, you got that?” Chihiro, or Sen, is forced to do the foulest
jobs in the bath house, like serving the worst possible guests, like a stink spirit, and
cleaning the most disgusting tubs. “Ugh, disgusting. This sludge is so caked on it’ll take days
to scrub off.” Chihiro’s plight reflects the reality of child
slavery. From the removal of her name and true family
to the control tactics and grueling work, there is no question that these crimes violate
the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Across the globe, child slavery is a huge
issue. Even in the countries with labor laws that
prohibit the use of children for work, child slavery continues to occur. Over 100 million children around the world
are forced to work in hazardous conditions. On tobacco farms, they work long hours in
extreme heat, exposed to nicotine and toxic pesticides that can make the children sick. In Africa, Asia, and Latin America, child
laborers in gold mines work underground in pits that could easily collapse, and use toxic
mercury to process the gold, risking brain damage and serious health conditions. Spirited Away is a poignant reminder of the
plight of children around the world. As Chihiro struggles to win back her family,
and do right in the world, the audience is reminded of the struggles of so many children
fighting against a system set up to take advantage of them. “There’s the station.” Eventually, Chihiro is able to identify her
parents and they return to the human world, where real children can only hope for their
own deliverance. “Mom! Dad!” “You shouldn’t run off like that, Honey.” “You could get in big trouble. Chihiro, hurry up.”

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