In recognition of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Oakton Community College will host screenings of the powerful, award-winning documentary, "Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex Trafficking," Jan. 30 and Jan. 31. Community leaders and activists will facilitate a discussion following the showing at the free public events.
"Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex Trafficking" will be shown 12:30-2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30, Room 1610, at Oakton's Des Plaines campus, 1600 E. Golf Road, and 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, Room P103, 7701 N. Lincoln Ave., Skokie.
Prior to the showing of the film, Oakton will host the free seminar, "What is Human Trafficking? The Horrific Practice of Modern Day Slavery," from 2:30-3:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, in Room C120, at the Skokie campus.
The events are sponsored by Oakton's chapter of American Association of Women and Community Colleges and Jewish Coalition Against Sex Trafficking Chicago.
"The purpose of this event is to educate ourselves and the community on this important topic," says TRIO adviser Kristine Panopio-Sanburg, a member of Oakton's AAWC chapter, who says this will be the first time this provocative documentary will be shown in Illinois. "Through encouraging students and the public to attend and participate in discussion, we hope to deepen Oakton's relationships with community leaders and local organizations. In addition, this is a way to motivate students and the public to foster a sense of social responsibility, engagement and activism."
According to a September 2017 report from the International Labor Organization and Walk Free Foundation, an estimated 24.9 million victims are trapped in modern-day sex trafficking. Also, according to a recent University of Illinois Chicago fact sheet, in the Chicago area, 16,000 to 25,000 women and girls are involved in the commercial sex trade annually, with one third of them first getting involved in prostitution by the age of 15 years and 62 percent by the age of 18.
"Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex Trafficking" is the feature film debut of producer/director Sadhvi Siddhali Shree, a Jain monk, U.S. Army veteran, international speaker, author and activist for social justice who was a victim of childhood sexual abuse.
Filmed in the U.S., Iraq, Mexico, the Philippines and Vietnam, Shree's film takes an unflinching, firsthand look at a shadowy underworld, telling the shocking story through the eyes of survivors, reformed traffickers, veteran activists, front-line rescue/aid organizations and celebrities who are lending their clout to the cause. The film is the recipient of several accolades, winning Best Picture and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2017 Global Cinema Film Festival of Boston and receiving the Best Domestic Documentary at the 2017 Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase.