However, it’s rare that one of these dance videos tries to change the way that society operates. This week, a video of dancers in the Red Light District in Amsterdam went viral- not because of a cute baby, not because of a celebrity, but because of the message it sent its viewers.
The video depicts four women standing behind glass while an audience gathers in front of them. Little did these spectators know that what they were about to see was more than an alluring dance number. Just as a large crowd gathers in front of the window, dubstep music begins to play and the women start a choreographed dance. As the dance goes on, lights on two second story windows come up and more women appear joining the dancers below. It’s easy to tell that the crowd loves the show- the dance is well timed, the music is current, and the dancers themselves are drawing attention.
Just as the audience is drawn in, the music stops, the girls freeze, and a lighted screen appears above the dancers. It states, “Every year, thousands of women are promised a dance career in Western Europe. Sadly, they end up here”. Crowd members who were whistling and hollering at the girls moments earlier are now stunned and completely silent. The sign shifts, sending a simple message to all of its viewers. “Stop the traffic. People shouldn’t be bought and sold.” See the entire video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-a8dAHDQoo
Within the span of one minute and forty seconds, these six women forced people to think about an otherwise taboo subject that no one is willing to talk about. At last count in 2011, there were a registered 1,003 victims of human trafficking in the Netherlands– and that is just the number of reported cases (European Commission, 2011). The Netherlands is one of the top five countries in the world for origin of human trafficking victims. It’s hard to say how many women and men are victimized every year by human trafficking, but it’s likely that the number is much higher than a mere 1,003 people. However, other countries are not innocent in the matter. In the United States, human trafficking rakes in $9.5 billion in one year alone and 1 in 3 teen runaways will be lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home (The Covering House, 2014).
The women in this video are taking a stand against an industry that is harming all sorts of people, but are also challenging the way that people see female dancers and women as a general collective. By making this video, these women are refusing to assume the role of the victim anymore. They are taking charge and reminding tourists and regular visitors that, what to them is an iconic and infamous spot to visit and watch shows, is a place where thousands of women are enslaved and taken advantage of on a daily basis. Women are often the subject of gendered violence, which consists of sexually based crimes, domestic abuse, and even homicide. NOW.org states that in the United States, it is estimated that 600 women are raped or sexually assaulted every day.
This video is beautiful in so many ways, but is extremely valuable for it’s bravery and honesty. It shows the direct results of human trafficking and the affects it has on women. It’s in your face display forced people to recognize a very prominent issue that shouldn’t be excused because it’s “entertaining”. The video has been spread over social media with great frequency in the recent past few days and hopefully will have a great affect in helping people realize that human trafficking isn’t a problem that can be ignored any longer. If you would like to help this cause or learn more about human trafficking, please visit www.stopthetraffik.org and, as always, thank you for reading.