By Laura Ramsey
On September 26, 2018, the Miller Center for the Arts showed Break the Chain, an award-winning feature-length documentary that addresses the issue of Human Trafficking—a modern form of slavery– in Detroit, Michigan.
Break the Chain produced and directed by Laura E. Swanson and Kirk Manson highlights the “hidden-in-plain-sight” issue of both sex and labor trafficking in Detroit, Michigan which currently ranks number 2 in the U.S for the most cases of human trafficking. The documentary tells the stories of sex trafficking survivor Debbie and labor trafficking survivor Kwami through in-depth interviews chronicling their experiences.
The film also features nearly 20 interviews with Senators, non-profit organizations, and other government and law officials working to raise awareness for the global issue. It allows the viewers to see the long-reaching consequences of human trafficking. But most importantly, the film teaches us that trafficking happens anywhere and everywhere, not just in the sensational portrayal in the media, and that we have the power to choose which business and industries we support to ultimately Break the Chain.
The film was followed by a post-panel discussion with the director and producer Laura, Andrea McHenry from Freedom and Restoration for Everyone Enslaved (F.R.E.E), and local Reading detective working to create awareness for the issue and provide help for those afflicted. The post-panel emphasized one very important point: Nowhere is safe from trafficking including Berks County.
Human Trafficking remains one of the most profitable forms of crime, with a lot of drug dealers moving to human trafficking, in addition to being one of the most underreported crimes the U.S. Human traffickers’ prey and exploited a vulnerable part of the population. Any age, race, or gender can fall victim to the world of human trafficking; it does not discriminate. Contrary to popular belief, trafficking does not mean someone needs to be taken from another country; it can happen right in your neighborhood and for some it is.
To check your footprint in the business of labor trafficking you can visit here. Below are links to both the websites talked above and additional ones for you to learn more.