The Best Work You May Never See: Médaille Trust, Creative Volunteers, Brother Brother Film Team On "Marked For Life" To Shed Light on Human Trafficking


Robert Goldrich
Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021


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On the recent (7/30) World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, Médaille Trust launched this short film titled Marked for Life. The piece highlights the issue of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in the U.K., showing how it continues to leave a permanent mark on individuals and our society.

The short introduces us to a survivor. It explains how she was trafficked and exploited, before being branded with a tattoo by her trafficker. This can be a common practice amongst traffickers, designed to show ownership and control.

In collaboration with tattoo artist Natalie Duffield from Lost Garden Tattoo Studio, this mark is covered during the film, leading to a cathartic moment on our survivor’s healing journey. However, the project also aims to show how the marks beneath the skin, which we often cannot see, leave the most lasting damage and need the most attention.

Supporting this film is an online hub, giving more details about this project, as well as key information about human trafficking and sexual exploitation in the UK. Viewers can also choose to take action, making a donation to the Medaille Trust and supporting their work.

The campaign is part of a larger initiative called “Tattooists against Traffickers,” where Medaille Trust aims to train tattoo artists to spot the signs of human trafficking and sexual exploitation and stop traffickers in their tracks!

Started in 2006 as a safe house for women trafficked into prostitution, Médaille Trust exists to provide refuge and freedom to survivors of human trafficking. And by raising awareness of this issue, the charity wants to show other survivors that it is possible to rebuild their lives after such a traumatic experience.

The film was developed with Brother Brother Film and the collaboration of a team of creative volunteers, who helped bring the story and the film to life. The short was directed by Yaz and Haz Al-Shaater via production company Brother Brother Film. Core creatives were art director Michele Bona and copywriter Michael De Piano. 

This campaign will be the start of a long term program called “tattooists against Traffickers” where Médaille Trust aim to train tattoo artists to spot the signs of human trafficking and sexual exploitation and stop traffickers in their tracks. Most of the time, traffickers use professional studios, where the tattoo artist doesn’t know that the work is intended to brand a victim.

There are currently an estimated 136,000 victims of trafficked slavery in the U.K.


Client Médaille Trust Creative Michele Bona, art director; Michael De Piano, copywriter. Production Company Brother Brother Film Yaz & Haz Al-Shaater, directors; Jonathan Haldon, DP; Lauren Payne, producer; Leon Frind, first assistant camera; Chiara Facco, progression support worker. Tattoo Studio Lost Garden Tattoo Studio Natalie Duffield, tattoo artist. Cast Bernice Pike, actor; Beth Penrose, voiceover actor.

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