Human Trafficking is Torture by any other name

Emma Thompson stars in this graphic, disturbing new PSA commissioned by The Body Shop and the Helen Bamber Foundation, designed to drive legislation to fight human trafficking. Thompson’s portrayed experience of rough forced sex is shown from the view of her assailant as she relates two sets of memories. On one hand we have Elena, a girl with hope and optimism for the future. On the other hand we have Maria, a numbed prostitute who is often forced into as many as 40 sex acts daily. The final text: Women enslaved by sex trafficking lose more than just their names. Trafficking is torture.

Emma Thompson as Maria in Human Trafficking PSA

The Torture By Any Other Name ad is online at YouTube, accessible for people 18 and over.

Apart from spreading the message about trafficking, the participants hope to drive viewers to petitions, online and in Body Shop stores, which will grant reprieve from deportation for 30 days for women arrested when brothels are busted and sex gang rings are broken up. Currently, they are imprisoned and shipped home. The Helen Bamber foundation is seeking time to counsel and help as well as convince the U.K. government to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.

Emma Thompson as Elena in Human Trafficking PSA


The Torture by any other name ad was directed by Neal Colyer at Quiet Storm with director of photography Caren Moy, executive producer Kate Pirouet, editor Steven Sander and stylist Kathleen McGarry.

“It’s quite horrific what goes on, and I think [the United Kingdom is] the worst offender in Europe,” says Quiet Storm executive producer Kate Pirouet. Pirouet says in Britain criminals who formerly focused on drug distribution now trade in humans, as the penalties if caught are, incredibly, more lenient. Pirouet says the team met Thompson on a Sunday, the only time she could get away from her current project, Last Chance Harvey, with Dustin Hoffman. After Thompson made them all breakfast, the group quickly concepted the film and shot it in a few hours. “She’s a real inspiration to work with,” says Pirouet. “We just shot it in one of her rooms in her home.”

Quickly cut together by Sander, the viral went live three days later, on the day of Anita Roddick’s memorial service in London.