USA Network today announced the hit drama series GRACELAND and LAW & ORDER: Special Victims Unit teams are joining forces to help raise awareness of and stop human trafficking. The effort kicks off on Sunday, August 17, at 1pm ET, with a ten-hour “End Human Trafficking” marathon of LAW & ORDER: SVU, hosted by GRACELAND cast members Daniel Sunjata and Serinda Swan.
USA is partnering with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Polaris — a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery — to provide viewers with information about human trafficking and resources to help victims during the full day marathon. In addition, USA also will use social media platforms to encourage conversation and inspire greater action.
The ten-episode marathon is the first of two nights during the week that the network will shine a light on this modern-day slavery, impacting more than 20 million people worldwide. Children, women and men are coerced and deceived into working in prostitution or forced labor against their will. The second night features a powerful episode of the series GRACELAND. This season, the show delved into a seven-episode story arc investigating a human trafficking operation, which comes to a head on Wednesday, August 20 at 10pm ET. The episode also will feature a new PSA from Sunjata and Swan encouraging viewers to donate to the UNODC’s Trust Fund for victims of human trafficking.
Sunjata and Swan recently helped announce the first ever United Nations World Day against Human Trafficking in an exclusive social media video. During the July 30 event, the UNODC generated a massive social media initiative using #IGiveHope. Other USA stars who took part in the initiative included Piper Perabo (Covert Affairs), Sarah Rafferty (Suits), Kari Matchett (Covert Affairs) and Erik Valdez (GRACELAND).
1:00 PM ACCEPTABLE LOSS – With Captain Cragen back in the precinct, the SVU squad is in full force and working to expose a sex trafficking operation that enslaves young women. The detectives are on the verge of cracking the case when their efforts are halted by Lieutenant Alexandra Eames, forcing Detective Benson to get creative with the investigation.
2:00 PM SLAVES – After a shopkeeper brings a note for help to the squad, the detectives begin trying to locate a young Romanian woman named Ilena (Layla Alexander), who hasn’t been seen in months. The squad eventually finds her working as a nanny at the home of the Morrows (Andrew McCarthy and Susan Floyd), a successful yuppie couple who harbor a terrible secret.
3:00 PM ANGELS – The body of a battered young boy found in a luggage compartment of an airport shuttle bus sends the detectives to his guardian who was discovered to be a pedophile only to find his corpse in bed with his genitals removed. The subsequent investigation leads them to a travel agency specializing in exotic trips for sexual predators.
4:00 PM PANDORA – Stabler, with the help of a homicide detective (William McNamara), hunts for a missing fourteen-year-old girl (Alexis Dziena) who may have been abducted by a foreign child pornographer. The hunt takes him across the Atlantic to where Interpol is investigating the sex trade in Europe.
5:00 PM PARTS – After a woman’s head is found in a car junkyard, SVU detectives track it down to the black market. This journey exposes them to the tragic lives of people who die waiting for kidney transplants. Through the organ dealer, Stabler and Munch learn that the parents of a dying boy broke the law to get him on the fast track to receiving a kidney.
6:00 PM DEBT – A child abandonment incident prompts Benson and Stabler to investigate the disappearance of a mother. They learn from her sister that she made a deal with human traffickers to have her teenage daughter smuggled to New York from China. It is revealed that the teenage immigrant has been forced into prostitution and that her life is being used as a bargaining chip by the gangsters to avoid prosecution.
7:00 PM RITUAL – A young boy is killed in a ritualistic manner which Fin identifies as that of Santeria and the detectives question the leader of a local chapter. Their attention turns elsewhere, however when they learn that the victim was one of many slave children smuggled form Nigeria.
8:00 PM UNDERBELLY – After a third young teen found dead, a paw print tattoo on her lower back, Stabler and Beck investigate the tattoo, which leads them to Broder House, a foster home for young girls. They learn that Chantal was one of a number of girls who had ended up working the streets for a man named Victor.
9:00 PM HOTHOUSE – Stabler and Benson investigate the murder of a 14-year-old girl found in The River. There are signs of torture on the young body and Warner tells them that she doesn’t know her identity, but can tell them she’s been in the United States less than four months and before that was in the Ukraine. Both Stabler and Benson realize the victim was probably part of a sex trafficking ring.
10:00 PM MERCHANDISE – Detectives Benson and Stabler investigate the death of a teenaged girl involved in a hit-and-run accident after Dr. Warner rules her death was a homicide, based on signs of malnutrition and a recent delivery. When the evidence leads them to a human trafficking operation, however, they contact an old colleague whose promotion has given her some influence.