2.4 million people are victims of human trafficking at any given moment around the world. It is a $32 billion industry, according to Wikipedia. 300,000 children go missing in the United States each year. 100,000 of them are sold for sex.
As we leaned Saturday night, sex trafficking is not only an international problem, it is also one of the top criminal enterprises occurring in our own backyard. The Greenwich International Film Festival was honored to attend, An Evening with Blake Lively, hosted by Room to Read. During the event, Lively spoke about her participation in, “A Path Appears” a documentary on human trafficking, one of the harshest forms of gender-based oppression and human rights violations. Lively’s role in the film was focused on sex trafficking. She was motivated to get involved with the film after reading the book, “Half the Sky.” During the documentary, she helped one family locate and eventually reunite with their daughter who had become a sex worker. “Handcuffs don’t need to be tangible,” Blake said.
Other participants in the event included Mira Chang, Co-Executive Producer of “A Path Appears,” and Audrey Morrissey, Associate Director of My Life My Choice and a survivor of the sex trafficking trade. According to Morrissey, “Social media is reaching out into the bedrooms of our children. They are talking to strangers that they think aren’t strangers because it’s a friend of a friend. It feels safer than a stranger walking up to you.”
Morrissey described the process, saying that pimps target and hone in on a vulnerable girl. They recruit her, manipulate her, and then sell her ten times a day. The girl becomes trapped and can’t escape.
“It’s terrifying. But it’s very easy to become removed…which perpetuates the problem that these girls become forgotten. Most of them don’t have a voice,” Lively warned.
Lively, Morrissey and Chang encourage others to become educated on the dangers of sex trafficking in the U.S. and help spread the word.
The Greenwich International Film Festival is committed to bringing stories such as these to the forefront in the upcoming year, allowing the most vulnerable individuals in the world to have a voice.
Every individual has a story and it is our mission to get these stories heard.
To learn more about the organizations involved, visit:
See images from the Greenwich Room To Read: Blake Lively