2018 Awards: Gold World Medal

Company: Animage Films

Title: The Secret Gardeners

Wednesday, 11th April 2018

ECPAT UK (Every Child Protected Against Trafficking) is thrilled that its animated short film about child trafficking in cannabis cultivation – The Secret Gardeners, has won the gold medal in the Human Concerns category at the New York Festivals World’s Best TV and Films awards.

The Secret Gardeners aims to raise awareness and tackle the growing issue of Vietnamese children being trafficked to the UK for cannabis cultivation.

ECPAT UK developed the film, in partnership with Animage Films and Oscar-nominated animator Erica Russell, as part of an international project into the specific vulnerabilities of Vietnamese adults and children who are among the highest number of those identified as potential victims of modern slavery in the UK. In 2017, there were 362 children identified as potential victims of modern slavery from Vietnam in the UK, a large increase from 2016.

The short film aims to inform professionals and members of the public about the exploitation of children who are forced by organised crime gangs to grow drugs in houses across the UK, but who often face criminalisation and prison instead of the support they are entitled to.

It is based on real-life experiences of children ECPAT UK has supported, and will educate members of the public who use cannabis about the ‘dirty’ supply chains of cannabis that may include child exploitation. Additionally, the film has been screened at school outreach events in Vietnam to raise awareness of trafficking risks among at-risk children. 

At an awards show last night in New York, the film was declared the gold medal winner in the Human Concerns category, following a decision by a Grand Jury comprised up ofmore than 200 directors, producers, journalists, writers, actors, creative directors, art directors, filmmakers, composers and programming executives. 

The Secret Gardeners, which was launched on 18th October 2017 to coincide with the UK’s annual Anti-Slavery Day, has also won runner up in two categories at the Unchosen film awards - Best Film on Modern Slavery in the UK and Best International Film on Modern Slavery.

Chloe Setter, ECPAT UK’s Head of Advocacy, Policy & Campaigns, said: “We are delighted that The Secret Gardeners has been recognised for its role in raising awareness of the plight of Vietnamese children exploited in cannabis production in the UK. We hope this film will make people think twice about where their cannabis comes from and will help more victims to be identified by professionals and given the support they need.”


Press contacts

Chloe Setter, Head of Advocacy, Policy & Campaigns, ECPAT UK, 07890 120834, [email protected]

Sinead Geoghegan, Information, Media and Communications Officer, ECPAT UK, 020 3903 4630, [email protected]