Artists United for Social Justice Develops Feature Film to Spotlight the Trafficking of Children in America as Part of its I Stop Traffic Awareness Campaign
Recent Cleveland case and FBI raids across multiple US cities highlight the prevalence and “hidden” nature of human trafficking in America
Los Angeles, Calif.—August 1, 2013—Artists United for Social Justice (AUSJ), a charitable organization that empowers activists to create and distribute multimedia content to educate the public about social injustices, today announced the production of a new feature-length film titled Close to Home as part of its I Stop Traffic awareness campaign to spotlight domestic child trafficking in America.
Close To Home tells the gripping story of three American teenagers forced and manipulated into prostitution and sold across state lines. The three main objectives of the campaign are: awareness, non-profit support/rehabilitation, and ending the demand for prostituted children.
“We have made progress in terms of building awareness over the past several years but clearly, it isn’t enough,” said founder of AUSJ, Michael Cory Davis. “In addition to being a global issue, second only to drug trafficking, between 100,000 and 300,000 American children are trafficked each year within our borders and parents still aren’t aware that their children are at risk.”
The recent Cleveland case involving three women held as sex slaves for ten years is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this hidden, underground crime that involves coercion, threats abduction and physical violence. Most recently, the FBI conducted a raid rescuing more than 100 teenagers in 70 cities across the U.S. and arrested 159 pimps. Individuals vulnerable to traffickers include runaway teens, job seekers, tourists, kidnap victims and the homeless.
AUSJ is using the crowdfunding website IndieGoGo to fundraise for its $500,000 goal to produce the film and the campaign. When the funds are reached the production of the film will be fast-tracked with a target for completion by the end of 2013.
The goal of the 2013 I Stop Traffic awareness campaign is to utilize multi-media effectively to create a cohesive movement leveraging support from Hollywood, government, educators, corporations, civilians, law enforcement and NGOs. In addition to creating much-needed awareness about trafficking in the U.S., the campaign will be lobbying for tougher fines and penalties for traffickers and johns and will create youth-oriented preventative curriculums around trafficking issues; peer mentoring; and “End-Demand” workshops for young boys.
Previous I Stop Traffic accomplishments include:
- Creation of two award-winning films, Svetlana’s Journey and Cargo: Innocence Lost, on the issue of sex trafficking, generating important awareness about the issue.
- Participated in campaigns to fund shelters and orphanages around the world.
- Created a three-disc human trafficking educational DVD series used by law enforcement, non-profit organizations, and universities globally.
- Created five public service announcements with Ashley Judd for distribution virally.
- Hosted and/or sponsored more than 40 screenings, Q&A panel discussions, and conferences globally.
- Collaborated with the Queen of Bahrain and former First Lady of Egypt in order to generate more awareness in their respective countries.
- Transported medical supplies to victims of the earthquake in Haiti and to sex trafficking victims in Thailand.
- Founder was honored for his efforts by People to People International alongside the Prime Minister of Albania and the head of Relief International.
About AUSJ/Michael Cory Davis
An actor, filmmaker, and humanitarian, Michael has been involved in the fight against human trafficking since 2003 when he encountered victims of trafficking while shooting a film for the SyFy channel on location in Bulgaria. Touched by the real-life story of a 13-year-old Bulgarian girl sold by her adoptive parents and trafficked to Holland for prostitution, Davis wrote and directed Svetlana’s Journey, a film based on her life. Svetlana’s Journey was the winner of the 2005 Hollywood Film Festival Best Short Subject Award and the HDFEST Deffie Award for Best HD Dramatic Film. Davis partnered with the Bulgarian non-profit organization Face to Face, the U.S. Embassy and corporate sponsors to implement an awareness campaign that raised funding for rehabilitation centers and orphanages in Bulgaria, he toured the country with the film, and promoted the airing of Svetlana’s Journey on Bulgarian television.
Michael’s second film, Cargo: Innocence Lost, 2007, a documentary on sex trafficking in the United States, has been lauded for its effective spotlight on the issue here at home. In 2008, Michael created the I Stop Traffic campaign using his films as a way to spread awareness, support victims, and organizations. Michael helped organize human trafficking awareness events/film screenings with numerous organizations such as National Association of County Commissioners, National Foundation of Women Legislators, Salvation Army, Soroptomist, Los Angeles County Unity Coalition and many more. Michael and AUSJ’s campaigns have been featured by such outlets as CNN, ABC World News, the Tyra Banks Show and many more. For more information, visit www.istoptraffic.com.