Posted on May 28, 2022Read on

Community Project: Human Trafficking Docu-Series and Philanthropic NFTs

Author(s): existential zoomer#2305 | MatterTurbulent#5161| ​​0xAA#2040 | and Y4000#2731

Editor(s): Tet#7609

Last updated: 28th May 2022

Nigerian filmmaker Existential Zoomer is partnering with PeopleDAO to produce a three-part docu-series raising awareness about human trafficking in Nigeria and exploring web3’s ability to make a difference. We are employing a film team who previously placed films on the platforms Netflix, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime. We plan to target these platforms for our own distribution. Additionally, we will utilize a set of NFTs to fundraise for the project and bring direct aid to the victims of human trafficking.

This document outlines the social issues we seek to address, the project description, and requests funding from PeopleDAO to initiate the endeavor. We envision the full-length docu-series, named The Lost Children of Benin City, will exemplify PeopleDAO’s mission to leverage web3 for social impact.

The Problem: A Human Trafficking Crisis in Nigeria

Human trafficking is defined as the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain, constituting modern-day slavery. As of 2014 human trafficking represented a $150 billion global industry. Two-thirds of this figure ($99 billion) was generated from commercial sexual exploitation.

Nigeria remains an origin point, throughway, and destination country for human trafficking. Recent estimates suggest victims number over 1,386,000, ranking Nigeria in the 81st percentile in terms of countries with the most victims. Reports indicate Nigerians have been trafficked to over 34 countries, and historically high proportions of women and girls have been sent to European countries like Italy. A 2003 report stated trafficking was so enmeshed in Benin City, Nigeria that most families had at least one member involved in trafficking as either a victim or trafficker. The long history of trafficking associated with this area in Nigeria persists to recent years. In 2017 over 75% of women migrants arriving in Italy were both victims of sexual exploitation and hailed from Edo State, Nigeria which contains Benin City.

Victims of human trafficking experience horrific violence and hardship both on their journey to their destination country, and also when they arrive. Advocacy group Pathfinders reports individuals are abused physically, gang-raped, and infected with various sexually transmitted diseases. Each survivor endures 3-5 years of sexual slavery on average and is forced into prostitution on upwards of 4,000 occasions. Some trafficked individuals are subjected to organ harvesting and never return to Nigeria.

The U.S. State Department categorizes the Nigerian government as attempting but ultimately failing to comply with accepted standards for eliminating human trafficking.

The Project

The Lost Children of Benin City aims to produce a three-part docu-series highlighting the social problem of women and children being trafficked in and out of Benin, Nigeria. The docu-series is divided into three parts focusing on the themes (1) Normalization and Judgment, (2) Fear and Trauma, and (3) Rape, Drugs, and Guns. We are using original footage and research, focusing on interviews with victims and uplifting marginalized stories. Each part will be one hour long.

We have partnered with a production company, Singularity Media, which has experience placing content on major streaming platforms. We are aiming for maximum distribution in hopes that global audiences will get inspired to donate aid. Additionally, we will engage in a marketing campaign at the local level to educate communities about the tactics used by traffickers, and to garner political support for governmental and NGO programs mitigating trafficking.

In addition to raising awareness, this project will seek to directly benefit victims. We will raise funds through streaming revenue, and by releasing an NFT collection. The project will then donate funds to non-profits with a track record of high impact and fiscal responsibility. We are looking to partner with non-profits that educate victims, help them launch small-scale businesses, and provide access to financial credit and individual stability. Three examples of organizations that we are interested in partnering with are MIST, FIZ, and STER.

The project will also issue an NFT collection derived from the docu-series content. The plan is to mint the NFTs in the middle of production to raise further funds, then reveal the images on the NFTs at the time of the docu-series release. Individuals who hold a Constitution Fractionalized NFT and/or 5000 $PEOPLE tokens will get access to the whitelist.

NFT Collection

Each NFT in the collection will represent direct aid given to a human trafficking victim (e.g. a plane ticket to escape their situation). The cost of each NFT will be double the cost of that social service unit, with 50% funding the service for the victim, and 50% funding the docu-series. Thus each NFT will be meaningful to the collector, a tangible reminder of the support they gave another human being. Furthermore, the NFTs will feature symbology and mythology derived from Edo culture, native to the Nigerian area. For example, these symbols may reflect the journey of the victim, struggle for survival, and spiritual ties with home. These traits will be scarce and so might be of interest to anyone wishing to collect more than one NFT from the collection. For its release the collection will do a delayed artwork approach, beginning with an allow-list phase, and then revealing artwork in the weeks following the mint.

PeopleDAO will hold the rights to the docu-series and receive a portion of the NFTs. Both can be added to the DAOs collection of social impact art. After fulfilling obligations to provide direct aid to victims, PeopleDAO can use streaming revenue to fund social goods projects.


These dates represent targets for the project.

  1. Secure funding to produce initial research and visual assets – June 2
  2. Finish pilot (initial research and multimedia article) – June 17
  3. Open allowlist for NFT collection– July 1
  4. Begin minting for NFT collection – July 11 
  5. Transfer funds to local aid organizations – July 18 
  6. Finish NFT art development. Reveal art – July 28
  7. Complete remaining fundraising through other web3 platforms – July 28
  8. Produce docu-series – August 1 to August 31
  9. Edit docu-series – September 21
  10. Distribute docu-series – September 28
  11. Reporting on use and impact of direct aid – December 31

PeopleDAO Community Project Snapshot – Cold Start Background Research

We urge the PeopleDAO community to approve funding to coldstart the docu-series Lost Children of Benin City. The funding will support Existential Zoomer traveling to Benin City, conducting interviews and background research for the project, as well as producing some visual assets in the form of photographic and video content. As a deliverable, Zoomer will produce a multimedia article, showcasing her research and building support for additional fundraising. This visual content may also be integrated into the NFT collection art.

We’re asking for $7.7k to launch this first stage of the Lost Children of Benin City. In terms of financial sustainability, the forthcoming NFT project and streaming fees will both act as forms of revenue. We plan to explore multiple funding sources to fund the broader docu-series, including Gitcoin, CultDAO, and PeopleDAO.

This project would count as one of, if not the first docu-series supported and financed by DAO and web3 mechanisms to this extent. Using an NFT series both as a fundraiser and a form of philanthropy makes the project even more innovative. The Lost Children of Benin City represents an opportunity for PeopleDAO to continue building on our history and role in web3.

“This project is dedicated to all the ones we’ve lost, the ones who will never be found and the untold stories, and to the ones we have found but who are scarred and will never be whole again.”

-Existential Zoomer

Coldstart fund expenditure breakdown

Brief breakdown of the project's fund expenditure.

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