On a chilly January 11 evening, the Byrd Theater graciously opened their doors in order to have an event that was co-sponsored by the Christian Medical and Dental Association and Richmond Justice Initiative. The goal of this event was to shine a light on human trafficking through the screening of a movie entitled “Trade of Innocents”, and inspire a community to join together to end the most dehumanizing and atrocious evil practice that is going on in our world today…..human slavery. If someone was able to take a glimpse inside the theater before the doors officially opened to the public, he or she would have seen the volunteers of CMDA and RJI working to set up tables, hand out posters, and strategize on how to friendly welcome those who would traverse the doors of the Byrd.
When the prep work was done, and with everyone in place, the doors opened and the people entered. The atmosphere inside the lobby was unifying because one could see that there were people of different backgrounds in attendance. They passed by the tables, chatted with volunteers, bought t-shirts and bracelets, and donated money…..while buying popcorn, candy, and soda.
After a brief introduction and overview of what was going to happen – the film, “Trade of Innocents”, began. Without giving too much away, I will give you an overview of the movie in hopes that you will watch it. The film takes place in Cambodia and offers a glimpse into the world of child sex trafficking. The movie centers on a Cambodian police force that seeks to shut down brothels that traffic young girls and to bring the traffickers to justice. It is a gripping story that is filled with struggle, hope, and inspiration.”
At the conclusion of the film, everyone was able to hear the story of a survivor. This lady wasn’t just some ordinary person who survived her first pimple, first date, high school, or any other life challenge that is so common. She was ensnared in the world of human sex trafficking. She lived through the horror, sorrow, and abuse that so many others in bondage go through. Her story didn’t take place in Cambodia or anywhere else in the world. It happened in our own country…..in our own backyard under our noses. It was such a powerful testimony of survival that I hope will inspire many to join the movement to end human slavery.
Yes, slavery is alive and well around the world. Not only that, it is alive and well in our own country. Most people think that slavery ended with the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment. Because of that, they have been in the dark about how slavery has changed and become so covert that one could walk right by a trafficker or someone who is being trafficked without even knowing it. That has to change. It is the time for everyone to know that 27 million people in this world are enslaved. Let’s use our resources, talents, and gifts to awaken people to the reality of slavery. Let’s take action to rescue and restore those who are trapped with no hope of escape and make sure that those who are trafficking humans are brought to justice. Join the movement. Be in it to end it. ~ Marcel Ficklin