A Film & Arts Festival, “See It! End It!” was held March 29-30 to raise awareness of human trafficking at the historic Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro. RSC’s were part of the planning and present to support this event. Since so many films illustrate the violation of human rights and subsequently are very dark, the festival was enriched with dance, live bands, spoken work and steppers, paintings and visual arts. Artists and vendors with booths displayed their fair trade products, and organizations that help support youth at risk provided materials.
After each film was a panel which included Q&As with filmmakers, survivors, celebrities, panelists, and experts in the field. We heard practical action steps that all of us could take to help protect, prevent and end human trafficking. The Founder of “See it – End it”, Patrick Erlandson states, "Human trafficking is affecting far too many families to be allowed to continue being seen as the problem of others, that someone else will deal with. Each of us as artists, business people and soccer moms have a part to play in ending this.”
At an annex, youth participated in a variety of activities educating them about human trafficking including Cyber safety films, in both Spanish and English. Two police officers also spent the day encouraging the youth. For the entire event in both locations we were graced by teenage volunteers who served joyfully and topped up the hospitality.
Some of the films for adults were: “Skin in the Game”, which has gained international acclaim and is set in Los Angeles, brought to us by award winning director, producer Adisa Septuri. “Unbridled”, a true story of trafficking survivors healing as they care for abused horses, featured Tea Macay, Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts, former professional athlete T.C. Stallings, and award winning actress Jenn Gotzon Chandler. On Saturday evening, the North American premiere of “Love Sonia” was featured, which follows the path of a trafficked child from India to Hong Kong to Los Angeles, where she finds freedom with the help of CAST LA, directed by Tabrez Noorani, produced by David Womark (Life of Pi), starring Frieda Pinto, Aarti Mann, and an appearance by Demi Moore. Kathleen Bryant RSC moderated this panel and asked the Director why he chose this topic for a film. He had been in Los Angeles and learned about the containers off of the ships coming into the harbor with people who were trafficked. In one container 4 of the girls being trafficked from Asia had died en route.
We also viewed ten shorts, “Modern Slave”, an award-winning short film which delves into the hooks that keep victims of trafficking exploited. There were also documentaries depicting labor trafficking and supply chain accountability, short films, foster youth films from Kids in the Spotlight and the Boys and Girls Club. Organizations and vendors provided products and resources for prevention, awareness, assistance for victims of human trafficking, and information on ways to take action.
Guests, sponsors, and supporters included Honorary Event Chair LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Councilman Joe Buscaino, Congresswoman Nanette Barragan, District 44, Senator Steven Bradford, District 35, Trades of Hope, Saving Innocence, Journey Out, Long Beach Human Trafficking Task Force, Sr. Kathleen Bryant RSC, Crail Johnson Foundation, Rancho LPG, KIMA, Rotary Club, Irene Mendoza, Kids in the Spotlight, Artists for Change, Artisfactions, Forgotten Children, Freedom Ride Project, Flicks4Change, Hidden Tears Project, So. Cal. Faith Coalition Against Human Trafficking, Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, Law Enforcement, and more. The YWCA who have brought safety and empowerment to women and families for over 100 years were our non-profit partner for this event.