Locally made movie raises awareness of human trafficking

Published on Toledo Blade, By DAVID YONKE, January 09, 2010. http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100109/NEWS10/100109704/-1/NEWS10

A young girl, starved for affection, meets a guy who buys her expensive gifts and treats her like a queen.

But after a few months, the relationship takes a frightening turn. He becomes threatening and abusive, telling the young girl that “I took care of you, now you’ve got to take care of me.”

The “boyfriend” then forces the teenager into prostitution. 

That’s the story of a new locally made film, Losing Maria, describing the sad reality for too many local teenage girls, according to Mary Schmidbauer. She is the director of Second Chance, a program that is overseen by the nonprofit Toledo Area Ministries … //

… Losing Maria aims to warn young girls of the risks and to be aware of the tricks traffickers use. The “glitz and glamor” they see at first could lead to beatings, abuse, and coercion, Ms. Schmidbauer said.

The costs of the video were kept below $10,000 thanks to volunteer help and contributions, she said,.

“It is an evocative film and the purpose is to try and raise awareness and create discussion so that families, community members, whoever is a witness to the film, can figure out how we can address these issues and provide support for youth to keep them from this situation,” Ms. Schmidbauer said.

The video features Josh Bey, Santoria Sawyer, and Juliana Birmingham.
The showings and panel discussions start at 2 and 4 p.m. tomorrow at the Maumee Indoor Theatre, 601 Conant St. Admission is free but donations will be accepted.

The program is being held in coordination with President Barack Obama’s proclamation designating January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and tomorrow as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
President Obama, in making the proclamation Monday, said trafficking victims often find it hard to imagine there might be a place of refuge.

“We must join together as a nation and global community to provide that safe haven by protecting victims and prosecuting traffickers,” he said.

More information on Second Chance is available online at TAMOhio.org or by calling 419-244-6050. (full text).

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More on the National Global Human Trafficking Awareness Day NGHTAD, January 11th, 2010:

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