In 2018 THE WHY will launch the media initiative WHY SLAVERY? to vastly increase awareness about human trafficking and modern slavery.

Using the power of strong storytelling as the foundation of the campaign, six compelling and informative documentary films will uncover the lives of men, women and children living as slaves in all corners of the world. Whether it is the deeply flawed Kafala System in the Middle East or the prolific number of children bought and sold in India, the WHY SLAVERY? series will shine a light on the millions of lives lived in the shadow of enslavement.

Following the unprecedented success of Why Democracy? and Why Poverty? THE WHY is creating a ground-breaking new cross-media project that asks why slavery remains so endemic in the 21st Century.

We aim to create the largest ever public media campaign about modern slavery reaching an unprecedented number of people through broadcast partners, online engagement, and in public spaces like schools, libraries, museums factories, and even football stadiums.


"You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know." - William Wilberforce, Abolitionist, 1807


WHY SLAVERY? is built out from six ground breaking and compelling documentary films that feature cutting edge investigative journalism by critically acclaimed film makers. The films are currently in production and will be distributed globally through a unique network of 70+ broadcast partners. We can reach an estimated audience of 700 million people with critical information about one of the worlds greatest humanitarian crises. Filmmakers include the academy award-winning director Roger Ross Williams and Emmy nominated producer Mette Heide. The WHY SLAVERY? series gives viewers intimate access to the harsh realities of modern day slavery.  


WHY SLAVERY? includes a significant outreach component. We are producing 30 short films focused extrapolating key issues raised by the six films including slavery in various supply chains and powerful testimonies. The shorts are aimed at educators and civil society organisations who may can use the films for a variety of purposes: to educate, inspire or set the framework for dialogue and debate.

In addition to the short films we will create educational material for schools as well as interactive outreach that engages public audiences in public spaces. This will include through thought-provoking posters and banners, public screenings, social media content and much more.

We know from experience that raising awareness is a matter of meeting people on multiple platforms at the same time. To ensure impact WHY SLAVERY? will therefore take place simultaneously on TV, online, in print-media, in schools, libraries, museums and even football stadiums.



Get Involved

We need your help to ensure that all people have the opportunity to learn about slavery today. If you are interested in finding out how you can be part of Why Slavery? please contact us:

AS A BROADCASTER – Find out how your television can set the agenda with Why Slavery?

AS A FILMMAKER – Find out how your work can become part of Why Slavery?

AS A CIVIL SOCIETY PARTNER – Find out how your organisation can host private screenings, and use our short films and facilitators guides to ensure all people have access to Why Slavery?

We look forward to hearing from you!


NICK FRASER Co-founder & Executive producer, THE WHY
METTE HOFFMANN MEYER Co-founder & Executive producer, THE WHY
AXEL ARNÖ Commissioning Editor, SVT
SANDRA KLEINFELD Senior Director of Documentary, CBC Television
KLARA GRUNNING Consultant, Swedish Film Institute & Chair, The WHY
KIM CHRISTIANSEN Editor of Documentaries and Co-productions,  DR Sales
ALAN HAYLING & ALEX COOKE Editorial Director / CEO, Renegade Pictures
MARIZA MATSHAYA Producer & Founder, Queen Film
MARGJE DE KONING Chief Commissioning Editor of Documentaries, EO, JDocs & IKONdocs
KATE KENNEDY Managing Director, North America, The Freedom Fund
MARTIN PIEPER Head of Department, ARTE-Thema, ZDF/ARTE
SUSANNE MERTENS Commissioning Editor, ZDF/ARTE
MARIE NELSON Vice President News & Independent Film, PBS
YOKO IMAI Senior Producer for International Co-production and Acquisitions, NHK
MANDY CHANG Commissioning Editor Storyville, BBC
ANDERS BRUUS Commissioning Editor, DR 2

HELEN YANACOPULOS Senior Lecturer in International Politics and Development, Open University
AVI BOUKLI Lecturer in Criminology, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Open University