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In recognition of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Oakton Community College will host screenings of an award-winning documentary, “Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex Trafficking,” on Jan. 30 and Jan. 31. Community leaders and activists will facilitate a discussion following each free public screening.
The film will be shown from 12:30-2:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 in Room 1610 on the Oakton Des Plaines campus, 1600 E. Golf Road, and from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Jan. 31 in Room P103, 7701 N. Lincoln Ave., Skokie. The events are sponsored by the Oakton chapter of American Association of Women and Community Colleges (AAWC) and the Jewish Coalition Against Sex Trafficking (JCAST) Chicago.
“The purpose of this event is to educate ourselves and the community on this important topic,” says TRIO Advisor Kristine Panopio-Sanburg, a member of Oakton’s AAWC chapter. She says this will be the first time this provocative documentary has been 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,” she says. “In addition, this is a way to motivate students and the public, to foster a sense of social responsibility,engagement and activism.”
A September 2017 report from the International Labor Organization and Walk Free Foundation states that an estimated 24.9 million victims are trapped in modern-day sex trafficking. And according to a recent University of Illinois Chicago fact sheet, 16,000 to 25,000 women and girls are caught up in the commercial sex trade in the Chicago area annually, with one third of them first involved in prostitution by the age of 15 and 62 percent by the age of 18.
“Stopping Traffic” 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, the film takes an unflinching, first-hand 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 was named Best Picture and winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2017 Global Cinema Film Festival of Boston and was named the Best Domestic Documentary at the 2017 Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase.
On Jan. 23, prior to the showing of the film, Oakton will host a free seminar, “What is Human Trafficking? The Horrific Practice of Modern Day Slavery,” from 2:30-3:45 p.m. in Room C120 at the Skokie campus.