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The Dignity Initiative Focuses on Sex Trafficking with "8 Days"

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The Dignity Initiative Focuses on Sex Trafficking with "8 Days"

Sept. 16, 2015 – Sex trafficking is a serious problem and it is happening closer than you think.

That is one of the most chilling takeaways from the film “8 Days,” presented by The Dignity Initiative, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 30 in the Spring Creek Campus Living Legends Theater, 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway in Plano. A panel discussion will follow the screening.

The film is a fictionalized account of the abduction and trafficking of 16-year-old Amber Stevens, who goes missing from a party with her friends. Based on actual victim accounts researched with the help of the Department of Homeland Security, Director Jaco Booyens said the film is “disturbing.”

“It is uncomfortable,” Booyens said. “It shouldn’t be comfortable. It is an uncomfortable topic.”

The film has been hailed as a powerful and accurate depiction of the crimes and their victims. Booyens said it is currently being used to train police and military agencies across the United States and in Europe.

A panel discussion about human trafficking featuring the Booyens, two actors from the film and a representative from the Department of Homeland Security will follow the screening. The film screening is the first in a series of events planned for The Dignity Initiative’s fall awareness campaign, which will focus on human trafficking, a multi-billion dollar illicit industry that trades on some of the most vulnerable portions of society.

“We looked at several films and we felt like this one really told the story,” Dignity Initiative co-chair Sherry Rhodes said. “It brings to light the seriousness of these crimes.

“We live in our own little worlds, and I don’t think a lot of people realize how serious this has become and how prevalent it is in our own back yards.”

Texas often ranks near the top of the list in human trafficking statistics. And Rhodes pointed to arrests made in a sex trafficking ring in Denton last year as an example. She noted that victims may be smuggled as far as two states away within 24 hours of being taken and often live just five to seven years in captivity.

The Dignity Initiative, a Collin College-based organization which works to raise awareness and inspire action on issues of violence against and oppression of women, will follow the film screening with a series of panel discussions on human trafficking on each of the college’s major campuses, Oct. 13-15.

Other Dignity Initiative events planned for the fall include a special presentation titled “Divine Privilege: Understanding the Intersection of Spiritual Abuse and Domestic Violence” and a series of screenings of the documentary “In Plain Sight,” which also focuses on human trafficking.

Learn more about the Dignity Initiative at www.collin.edu/community/dignity/ . Learn more about the film at www.8daysfilm.org .
Collin College serves nearly 52,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degrees and certificates. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and workforce development.