The horror of modern slavery on screen

July 11, 2017

50 for Freedom advocate and actor, Joaquín Furriel, was special guest of the International Labour Organization at a screening in Geneva of the award-winning movie, ‘The Boss: Anatomy of a crime.’


Highlighting the tragic human cost of modern slavery, El Patron tells the real-life story of an illiterate man, called Hermógenes, from the Argentinian countryside who finds himself trapped in forced labour after he goes to work in a butcher’s shop in the capital, Buenos Aires.

Furriel, who plays the lead role of Hermógenes, and film director, Sebastián Schindel, won the ‘Best Actor’ and ‘Best Film’ prizes at the prestigious Condor film awards in Buenos Aires, last year.

In an interview with the 50FF team during his visit to Geneva, Furriel explained why the role was important to him.‘The story really moved me. It’s a story that we have to tell and to know so that we can talk about the problem.’


In a previous interview for the campaign, Schindel also revealed one of his motivations for making the film.

‘When I was writing and adapting the script, I thought about this kind of slavery, which has neither chains nor padlocks. Even Hermógenes has the keys to the butcher’s shop. But why doesn’t he escape? Why doesn’t free himself? We need to understand that modern slavery works with different types of chains. They are invisible, with psychological padlocks.’

Furriel and Schindel took part in the launch of the 50 for Freedom campaign in Argentina in 2015. Since then, Argentina has ratified the Forced Labour Protocol, which aims to eradicate forced labour in all its forms.
One of the main aims of the campaign is to encourage at least 50 governments to ratify the Protocol by the end of 2018.

‘For me it’s important to support the 50 for Freedom campaign because it’s the most important campaign there is that raises awareness of modern slavery and above all so we can all encourage our governments,’ Furriel said.

After the film screening, which was organized in collaboration with the United Nations Office in Geneva, Furriel answered questions from the audience. Also taking part in the post-film discussion was Anne-Marie von Arx-Vernon, deputy director of ‘Au Coeur des Grottes’ a Geneva-based organization supporting victims of forced labour, and Aurélie Hauchère Vuong, ILO expert on forced labour.

Furriel and DG CROPPED

As part of his visit, Furriel also met ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, and was interviewed by a number of media outlets.

He also took part in a Facebook Live video interview (in Spanish) where he answered questions posed by viewers.

In addition to the Condor prizes, ‘The Boss’ has won awards in a number of countries including Chile, Mexico, Uruguay and South Korea. The same story is portrayed by Furriel in a short video for the 50 for Freedom campaign.