Students inspire MTV anti-slavery campaign

01.31.13
Ailey II
CNN

MTV has launched a new interactive, anti-slavery campaign inspired by a winning entry in its “Against Our Will” project on the college network, mtvU.

“The Backstory” contains a series of dance videos that show how women can be trafficked into prostitution and immigrants into forced labor.

Rapper Talib Kweli and dancers from Ailey II have joined the campaign which features choreography by Ailey II’s artistic director, Troy Powell, and music scored by Kenna.

"The Backstory" can also connect to users’ Facebook accounts to develop a more personalized storyline. “Backstory” aims to show users how anyone can become a trafficking victim, while also showing how to fight the traffickers.

Powell said: “Ailey II is honored to provide the visual embodiment of these powerful backstories of human, labor and sex trafficking. This is the first time we have participated in an effort such as this one, and it is rewarding to be able to bring awareness to such a worthy cause.

“We hope to move viewers to take action and share what they have learned with their friends and networks.”

‘Backstory” grew out of the winning entry, from four students at James Madison University, in mtvU’s “Against Our Will” challenge, which asked students for innovative ways to use the internet to highlight the problems of modern-day slavery.

The “Against Our Will” campaign aims to encourage students to take a stand against human trafficking. It works with Polaris Project, Free the Slaves and Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS).