Injustices endured by victims of Hansen’s disease did not end in 1922-1923 when the colonial government transferred patients from the Cocorite leprosarium to the remote leper settlement on the island of Chacachacare, but aided by government policies and enforced by religious authorities, this injustice continued when hundreds of children were snatched from leper parents at birth and permanently removed from the island. In 1984, when reintegration into mainstream society was possible for leprosy sufferers, for some, reuniting with their children came too late - for others, such reconciliations were impossible.
Shot on location in Chacachacare, Cocorite and throughout Trinidad, Snatched documents this part of our social history, exploring the impact and effects of enforced separation between parents and children. By alluding to HIV/AIDS as ‘the new leprosy’, this documentary seeks to understand the effects of social stigmatization through the stories of mothers who relinquished rights to their children from birth, of others who entrusted parental rights to family members on the mainland, of fathers who never saw their children and of children who today lament fractured relationships with such parents. Social workers, medical experts and religious authorities shall put these stories of parents and children into context and advocate different paths towards social change.
Snatched main purpose is to create awareness that policies and practices in healthcare that continue to stigmatize and discriminate amongst people afflicted by disease, can only have long term negative consequences on sufferers, their offspring, those who love them and the society at large.