Actress Julia Ormond on the unseen problem staring US in the face

Full Frame

This week, Full Frame’s host Mike Walter sat down with British actress and human rights activist Julia Ormond to talk about her work to bring an end of modern day slavery and why she thinks this is the most important human rights issue of our time.

As an actress, Ormond rose to fame playing lead roles in films, such as Legends of the Fall, First Knight, and Sabrina. Today, you can watch her casting spells on the Lifetimes series, Witches of East End.  While pursuing her acting career, Ormond has also worked to raise public awareness around the world about human-trafficking and modern day slavery.

Ormond became involved with the issue in the 1990’s, witnessing the plight of women and children trafficking victims in Eastern Europe, especially during the crisis in Kosovo. Since then, she has become a staunch activist and was appointed as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador against Slavery and Human Trafficking in 2005. As a Goodwill Ambassador, Ormond wanted to find a direct approach to combatting the problem.

“In the human body if you were to take humanity, the slavery – which is the most extreme [human rights issue]—or the enslavement is like the cancer in the body,” Ormond said. “So we have to take a laser-like approach that gets right to the tumor of it.”

Actress Julia Ormond discusses fight to end human trafficking

Actress Julia Ormond discusses fight to end human trafficking

While pursuing her acting career, Julia Ormond has also worked to raise public awareness around the world about human-trafficking and modern-day slavery. Ormond became involved with the issue in the 1990s, witnessing the plight of women and children trafficking victims in Eastern Europe, especially during the crisis in Kosovo.

Ormond established the Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking, or ASSET, which works with corporations, NGOs, government officials, and individuals to find ways to eliminate the economic impetus for slavery, placing an emphasis on international supply chains.  In 2010, ASSET championed the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, requiring major retail outlets and manufacturers operating in California to publicly disclose efforts to eliminate slavery and human trafficking from their direct supply chain. This legislation is the first in history to directly link business to human-trafficking.

While Ormond values the success of the bill, her focus is still on bringing attention to the plight of the millions of people who remain enslaved around the world.

“I want the CEO, who is not the criminal, to sit down with the little kid, who lost his life in some way or her way making something that we were profiting from, and just have the opportunity to tell their story so that the people who make the decisions—the people who are in charge of it in a way that the NGO community never can be—can have an emotional commitment, understanding, ‘I didn’t deliberately do this, but the way that I am dysfunctioning is enabling it to happen,’” Ormond said. “I think that individual has the right to sit down and meet the people who profited from their pain.” – Julia Ormond

It is estimated that there are nearly 30 million people living in slavery today.

Follow Julia Ormond @JuliaOrmond