A Documentary by KAT ROHRER


Copyright © 2009 GreenKat Productions. All rights reserved.

Contact: fp@greenkatproductions.com


Through personal stories of victims and interviews with politicians, NGO representatives and activists, Fatal Promises provides a comprehensive look at the realities of human trafficking versus the rhetoric of politicians and pundits who claim to be making significant strides in combating this horrific crime against humanity. Ukraine, the second largest country in Europe, is a prime example of a nation struggling to establish a stable economy, a functioning legal system and to control criminal enterprises of which Human Trafficking is the largest. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of women, children and men have been trafficked from Ukraine to the United States, Western Europe and the Balkans since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Nadja was 17 years old when she was deceived by a school friend to work in a hotel in Moldavia and instead was trafficked into the sex industry, her papers confiscated, her resistance beaten into submission. She was locked up in an apartment. Every day she was taken to different places to serve customers. Her attempts to escape led to more violence. While enslaved she witnessed the murder and rape of others.

Anja was lured to Russia with the promise of work. She spent months as a slave in an orchard. She was held prisoner in a camp, witnessed violence, experienced rape an never saw a dime for her work.

Nikolai, a 45-year-old sailor, left his wife and three daughters behind to take a job on a crab fishing boat off the coast of Russia, like he did many times before in his profession as a sailor. Little did Nikolai know that he would eventually return to his family without money and a broken, sick and changed man, after being exploited and abused on an unmarked fishing boat for four months.

Eugene was 18 years old when he signed a bogus contract to work on a fishing boat. He was taken to an unmarked ship off the coast of Japan. together with 30 other men from the Ukraine he was held in inhumane conditions without proper food, lodgings and pay. Eugene’s health will be damaged for the rest of his life.

Katja was 18 when her boss approached her about an opportunity to take a summer job as a waitress in the US. Upon arrival, she was taken to the heartland of America and forced to work as an exotic dancer 16 hours a day; 6 days a week. She was held in an apartment, threatened, raped and beaten, but was fortunate to escape with her life.

I have been working on “Fatal Promises” for more than three years. During that time, my crew and I have traveled to Ukraine, Slovakia, Austria and throughout the US. We met with NGOs, the International Organization of Migration, UN representatives, former Ambassadors of the US, experts, activists and, most importantly- Victims, both male and female. As a result of these interviews, my concept for this film shifted from telling the horrifying stories of victims showing how we as a society are failing our fellow human beings and tolerate, manly through ignorance and apathy, modern day slavery of women, children and men.

Through “Fatal Promises” I want to expose how the politicians in power in both the developing as well as the developed countries pay more lip service than action to the demands of NGOs struggling to get laws passed and help the victims of this horrific crime. The survivors I met and with whom I have spoken are truly remarkable people who have been through ordeals we could not even imagine. It is their voices and their anger that I want the public to hear in this film. I want to put their questions to those who have to pay attention to them: governments and  politicians. How can we tolerate slavery in 21st century?

I fully realize that the world community is faced with a myriad of tough issues, from hunger to war and disease, but this crime of modern day slavery not only violates our basic human right of freedom but also our dignity as a civilized society.

My duty is to those survivors who shared their stories with us and who were brave enough to step forward and tell their stories. I hope that “Fatal Promises” will do it’s part in helping to fight this horrific crime that should no longer exist in this time in age.

Kat Rohrer

Interviews include: Gloria Steinem; Emma Thompson; US Ambassador Mark Logan; Ken Franzblau - former director of Equality Now and current head of New York State Office on Human Trafficking; Kevin Bales - director of Free The Slaves and author of numerous books on slavery, Professor John R. Miller, former head of the Office of Human Trafficking in the State Department; Antonio Costas - Director of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime; Vladimir Palko - Slovakian Minister of the Interior; Ukrainian Minister of Youth and Family; members of the New York State and other foreign governments, and others.

These people all have one thing in common: they are survivors of Human Trafficking.  By talking to these survivors, visiting their countries and getting an insight into their lives, the filmmakers gained an unique view into the problem of trafficking and a first hand look at the short comings of the legal systems that are suppose to help them.

Eight years after the United Nations established the Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, “Fatal Promises” hopes to offer a comprehensive spotlight of the rhetoric versus the reality of the today’s legislative efforts to combating all human trafficking. While focusing on Ukraine as a country of origin and western European countries and the United States as countries of destination, “Fatal Promises” hopes to show the magnitude of this global epidemic.


The first time I consciously read anything about Human Trafficking was an article in the New York Times in 2005. I was so deeply moved and angered by what I read that I decided to do research on the topic. The more I read the more questions popped up in my head and the more interested I became in the issue. I started to feel the urge to do something about this problem the only way I know how to - through film. I had personal contact in Ukraine and started to focus on this interesting country as a country of origin and the US as a country of destination. At first, my intent was to capture the realities of these unfortunate women, who fall victim to these schemes and deceptions that brought them into a situation of being trafficked into to lives of sexual exploitation. However the deeper we looked the more we found.