08Dec

A Human Rights Film: The Long Night

thelongnight

It’s hard to believe that sex trafficking is happening in America. I always thought it was more prevalent in other countries, but I was very wrong.

The crazy, painful truth is that human trafficking is one of the  world’s fastest-growing criminal industries  and it’s a monstrous issue in this country. In fact, 85% of confirmed sex trafficking victims are U.S. citizens, mostly runaway children. Often disconnected from family and friends, runaway and homeless children are particularly susceptible to traffickers who will lure them with the promise of food, warmth, and even false love. Once snatched from the streets without anyone noticing, they are sold for the highest price, their dignity and sense of self destroyed.

 And the truth is that sex trafficking exists all around us. Look around you. Look at your neighbors, your friends, who you know. Look at your daughter. I have an 11-year old. I’m raising her to be strong and self-confident, but what if…..I can’t even bear the thought. Look at your son. Are you teaching him to respect and value women ? Maybe if we raise our children with these strong values, sex trafficking won’t be so rampant.

I just finished a heart-wrenching film about real lives taken by the sex trafficking industry called The Long Night that brings the issue home in a really meaningful way.

The film follows Tim Matsui, who won a grant (the Women’s Initiative Photography Grant from the Alexia Foundation) made it his mission to document grassroots efforts to address domestic minor sex trafficking in the Seattle area. As he worked, the story got bigger and bigger and really gives an insight into the sex trade. It weaves the stories of seven people whose lives have been changed forever because of sex trafficking. Because, really, how can one get ever get over being thrown into an industry as ugly as this one? During the course of just over an hour, Tim guides viewers through the lives of people stuck in the system and people trying to change the system. It’s tragic and so very real.

But the good news is that we don’t have to sit back and wonder how to help. There are actions we can take NOW. Read and learn (tips provided by Mom Bloggers for Social Good):

  –  Think about who you know.
  –  Then, watch the film at http://thelongnightmovie.com
  –  Like the Facebook page http://facebook.com/moviethelongnight
  –  Tweet about it.
  –  Share a story. Share your own Call to Action.
– Follow Tim Matsui’s Pinterest Boards.
  – Host a living room screening of the film.
  – Bring the film to your PTA or PEPS group.
  – Integrate it into your schools.
  – Call your city officials and ask they watch the film.
  – Get the film to your local police chief.
  – Get your mayor on board.
  – Find local victim service providers and ask what they need; socks, meals, donations for their annual fundraiser, they’ll know. And then let your community know what you did, inspire them!
  – Have Leaving the Life come to your municipality to facilitate the co-creation of solutions in day-long convenings. This will take some work, even if you’re the mayor or the county executive.
  – Because it’s all connected, consider donating to your favorite non profit working on a social justice issue. This includes Leaving the Life (link: http://www.leaving-the-life.com/take-action/)

                             Disclosure: I partnered with Mom Bloggers for Social Good on this post.

 

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