Wednesday, March 17, 2010



Two years ago we were seated at a college reunion dinner next to a classmate we didn’t know, back in the day. As a State department employee, he had served as Ambassador to many of the world’s hotspots, country wise. 

When we asked him, what was the worst problem he ever dealt with, we figured on an answer like weapons smuggling.

His reply: human trafficking.

We thought about his remark yesterday--- as we attended a screening for a documentary by Libby Spears titled:
Playground: The Child Sex Trade in America
Executive Produced by:
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Steven Soderbergh, Abby  Disney
Lauren & Gayle Embrey & Jeff Vespa

Yes, it was disturbing and tough to watch…but the film is a compelling examination of this fast growing epidemic that touches every neighborhood within our borders. Other facts we learned--- how Americans are major consumers of these horrors, how organized crime is getting in on this lucrative business, the legal loopholes that make it hard to rescue children, and most surprising for us, how American children are the biggest victims of this tough to prosecute crime…not as we thought, illegally smuggled in under aged, foreign nationals.

This 'grabs at your throat documentary' that apparently took several years to make, is well done, with heartfelt first person accounts, expert opinions from clinical psychologists to social workers, and law enforcement professionals’ efforts…all woven together into a well paced film that also has slices of eerie cartoons in the mix. To remind us that yes, these victims are children who cannot advocate for themselves.

Kudos to The Body Shop, the skincare/beauty company--- where proceeds from in store and online sales --- SOFT HANDS KIND HEARTS ($10) goes to the international non-profit  ECPAT ( ECPAT acronym stands for End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual) Purposes)-  a partner umbrella organization for groups and individuals trying to stop human trafficking.

Another key partner is the Somaly Man Foundation a non-profit that is on Orpah's Call to ACtion Drive.

PLUS bonus points to the aforementioned executive producers for supporting this important documentary.

WHAT ELSE: This screening was just one component of the Body Shop's latest awareness fight sex trafficking that launched in 2009.