Critical Forum - Hidden in Plain Sight

Hidden in plain sight: stories of modern-day slavery and human trafficking on screen

It can be hidden in the exhausted or furtive glances, in the strained hands and in the reluctance to speak with anyone: the authorities, the camera or friends and family. Modern day slavery is thriving, becoming more wide-spread and ubiquitous as ever around the world, with over 40 million people subject to it globally. It seems close to impossible to make a documentary that openly exposes the stories of the victims and the perpetrators, without having to work undercover or sacrifice ethical principles. This year’s Critical Forum showcases some of these brave filmmakers who were able to capture the personal experience of people who have been trafficked or captured to work as modern-day slaves in domestic contexts.

The screening of award-winning documentary A Woman Captured alongside the short animation They Call Us Maids portray intimate stories of women who have been victims of modern day slavery and human trafficking and who have found the courage to tell their stories. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with experts who deal with these issues professionally, who report it, who overcome ethical and emotional challenges to make these stories seen and heard. The discussion will expand on the ways to recognise and understand modern day slavery, how to become more aware of its impact and omnipresence as well as how to respond to these stories and their representation in the media.

Curated by Alexandra Maria Colta of the University of Glasgow, and Presented in partnership with The Glasgow Human Rights Network and Femspectives.


A Woman Captured (Critical Forum)

A Woman Captured reveals the shocking phenomenon of modern-day slavery in the heart of Europe. It follows Marish, a 52-year-old Hungarian woman who has been serving as a family housekeeper for a decade, working 20 hours a day without pay. With no ID, no bed to sleep in and only leftover scraps to eat Marish is treated like an animal and forbidden to leave the house without permission. Shot over a period of two years, the film documents the first transformative steps of a journey Marish had long given up hope of making – towards her freedom, dignity and a renewed faith in life.

It is estimated that around 45 million people around the world live in modern slavery. In Hungary alone there are about 22,000.

Also screening:

They Call Us Maids: The Domestic Workers’ Story (Leeds Animation Workshop, UK, 2015)

They Call Us Maids is a short animated film commissioned by Pavilion and produced by Leeds Animation Workshop, in collaboration with Justice for Domestic Workers Leeds. The film draws on the experiences of thousands of women from disadvantaged backgrounds, in countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, South Asia or Africa, who have to find work abroad to support their families. Employed as maids they work in private homes, often for long hours and low pay.

The Critical Forum panel discussion will take place after the screening at 15.00 in the Silver Room. Free entry. 


  • Sam Poling, Scottish investigative journalist, currently working for BBC Scotland and BBC Panorama.
  • Shan Saba, director of Brightwork, a recruitment business based in Glasgow and founder of the campaign Scotland Against Modern Slavery.
  • Meghan O’Neill, Campaigns and Engagement Officer Oxfam Scotland.


Posted: 8 November 2018