In honor of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day - January 11, 2013, Traffick Free partnered up with CAASE, to present a screening of the documentary film Sex + Money at Overflow Coffee Bar in Chicago. Over 100 guests showed up for this important screening! This film follows a group of student photojournalists around the United States as they document various aspects of sex trafficking. This is an eye-opening film for many, as it shows places that you don’t expect sex trafficking to occur - right in your own backyard.
The filmmakers talked with former victims, buyers, supporters and even a former pimp. They visited a “massage front” in New York City where they asked for a special massage, and were directed across the street to another location. They witnessed a sting where a pimp was arrested on the spot as he tried to get a new girl to work for him. A main focus for them ended up being Phoenix, Arizona where Streetlight, a restoration home that can serve 48 victims of sex trafficking, is based. The filmmakers pledged to donate $1.1 million of proceeds from the film and related merchandise to Streetlight.
One topic that was mentioned in the movie that was carried over to the discussion panel was the fact that there are currently less than 100 beds available in restoration homes for the estimated 100,000 to 300,000 child sex trafficking victims in America. There definitely are not enough beds to help these children or adult trafficking victims even if they were freed today. Education, funding and laws related to the “Swedish Model” were some of the other topics discussed with the panel. While there is no immediate fix, they discussed that there are plans in the works including Traffick Free’s plan for 30-day emergency housing to be presented by the end of 2013.
If each of the 100 guests that showed up at this event tells even just one person about this film or about anything related to human trafficking, that brings us one person closer to putting a stop to this horrible crime.
If you believe someone has been trafficked or in danger, please call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888.
Other important resources:
By: Melissa Brand, Traffick Free Volunteer