Curtis Meyer reporter
Students for Violence Prevention (SVP) will be hosting an event on Jan. 25 in honor of Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The event featuring a free screening of the critically acclaimed movie documentary Surviving Sex Trafficking, the event was held in the Bicknell Center.
“We are screening the documentary Surviving Sex Trafficking as part of Human Trafficking Awareness month, following the documentary we will have a Q and A session from some experts in the field, including RISE coalition, which handles trafficking in our area, Safehouse Crisis Center, which provides advocacy services to victims of sex based violence in our area, and Pittsburg Police,” said Pittsburg State University Program Coordinator for Advocacy Serivces, Megan Johnson.
Surviving Sex Trafficking is a documentary produced and directed by Sadhvi Siddhall Shree, who is herself a sex trafficking survivor. Focusing on the true stories and lives of women who have gone through the many ordeals of sex trafficking, the documentary shows how the victims resiliency allows them to escape their past and embrace hope for their future.
“The film follows people who have survived and escaped sex trafficking, both in the United States and abroad as well. I watched it to prepare, I do want to state, and our event says this, to be forewarned because this is heavy material and it does describe sex-based violence, it can have an emotional response. With that in mind University counseling will be available if anyone feels triggered by the film, they can step out, go talk to the counselor,” said Johnson.
Winning the President’s award at the Beloit International Film Festival and the Humanitarian award at the North Hollywood Cinefest, the free documentary will have members of Safehouse, members of RISE, and some of the Pittsburg Police force present.
RISE, or Regional Intervention of Sexual Exploitation, is a non for profit that started in 2010, and works with law enforcement to help educate law enforcement and the public on different forms of human trafficking. They also directly help victims of trafficking, giving them supplies and other much needed services. They are based out of Joplin.
Safehouse is a local organization that provides help for victims of sexual violence, with such services as safehouses for them and their families, toiletry items, and other essential services.
RISE and Pittsburg Police will hold a Q and A for all attendees of the film, allowing students to address any concerns they had for campus safety or just the city of Pittsburg as a whole. Open to the public, this event is not limited solely to students, as anyone can come in and voice concerns or even find ways to help.
“It would be a very educational opportunity to learn about being interested in helping people who are in that situation themselves. It is not something that is targeted towards just survivors, it’s an awareness event, so you can learn about the issue, how prevalent it is because it’s really in the shadows, not realizing that people in the United States are trafficked,” said Johnson.
No matter what their situation is, any student can go to Johnson and communicate any concerns they have, and she can help them or point them towards other forms of help.
“Safehouse is a confidential resource, my office is a confidential resource, so if someone just had questions, maybe they aren’t a victim themself, they have a friend they want to help out, they can come talk to my office without any fear that information is going to be shared,” said Johnson.