By KimberLee Emmerich
Imagine you’re walking down the street to catch the next bus to work and you come across an older man with a young woman dressed in tight, almost revealing clothing, eyes trained on the ground as if she’s afraid to make eye contact. You notice cuts and bruises are covering her entire body and are coated in a thick layer of makeup in an attempt to hide them. Would you just walk past the “couple” or would you think more in-depth into the situation?
What does this scene appear to be? A man and woman just patiently waiting for a bus, or something much more gruesome and terrifying? What if I told you that the woman in this situation was a victim of sex trafficking? Did you catch the signs? Tight revealing clothes, avoiding eye contact, signs of abuse…all signs of sex trafficking.
Sex trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of commercial sex act generally involving youth. Both girls and boys can be victims of sex trafficking. However, many people are unaware of this issue occurring in everyday life until it happens to them or even their child.
What they don’t realize is that they can learn the signs of sex trafficking before it becomes too late. So what are the signs of sex trafficking? Not only do sex trafficking victims dress provocatively, bear cuts and bruises as signs of abuse, and keep their eyes trained on the ground at all times so as not to risk a future beating from their “pimp” who is in control of them, but there are many more signs that contribute to the crime.
For example, what are teenagers most attached to these days? Technology; more specifically, their phones. What’s shocking and utterly horrifying to discover is that recruitment for sex trafficking can begin online on any social media site that teenagers are addicted to.
Becoming a victim of sex trafficking doesn’t normally happen automatically. It’s more likely that the pimp or trafficker will start off as a loving person; someone that offers up everything anyone could ever want to their victim. They may slowly start to lure their victims in through material items such as luxurious clothing and flashy jewelry, and when their target begins to put their trust in them, that’s when it becomes too late, and everything that particular victim could ever want, slips through their fingers.
When writing my short film, I wanted to find a way to make it clear that sex trafficking can happen to anyone. Sex trafficking is more commonly found upon girls, but boys can be trafficked as well. Throughout the film, the video alternates between a boy and a girl victim while they go through their daily routine of being a victim of sex trafficking, all while showing multiple signs of being trafficked.
I wanted to keep speaking to a minimum so that you could be able to hear and understand the thoughts going through these victims’ heads as they prepare for a day of forced prostitution and money-making. I wanted to show multiple signs of someone being trafficked and also get the point across that anybody can be trafficked.
Working with Neo Soul Productions in the summer has been rather beneficial to me, not only because the company revolves around a career field that I wish to go into, but also because it has educated me about an issue that I wasn’t really aware existed.
This experience has helped change how I see the world and gave me an opportunity to make a difference and spread awareness. I will be forever grateful for this experience and for what I’ve learned throughout the summer. All this knowledge that I have gained through this experience will remain with me forever, and I hope that one day I can spread awareness like I did this summer.
I’m Just Sayin!