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September 21, 2023

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Movie on human trafficking tells college student’s true story


Four panelists speak on the topic of human trafficking and risk prevention Thursday evening.

Angie, a troubled teen from Wichita, Kansas, decided one day to run away from home with her two friends. A man from Oklahoma promised to drive the three far away to start a new life.

Angie knew something was wrong when the man said that the only way she could leave the car is by falling out of it at highway driving speed.

He was a pimp; Angie and her friends were now victims of the human traffic industry.

Her true story is featured in “Not My Life,” a movie detailing the human trafficking and modern slavery, using the accounts of people from five different continents over four years.

The World Affairs Council of Northwest Ohio and the College of Education of Human Development showed the 2011 documentary Thursday night at Clazel in an effort to raise community awareness of the issue.

“That’s the big thing right now because you can’t do anything unless there’s exposure to the community about the problem,” said senior middle childhood education major Delaney Buechner, who helped organize the event. “We’re just trying to get people aware that it’s something that’s happening; it’s happening in great quantities; it’s happening all the time; and it’s happening half an hour away from here.”

The event took place from 5:30 – 7:45 and included both a showing of the film and a panel of local organizations and authorities that deal with human trafficking.

Panelists included Jenny Barta of the Wood County Sheriff’s Office, Geneva Mason of Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition, Sister Mary Kuhlam of Sisters of St. Francis and Jeff Wilbarger of The Daughter Project, an organization helping survivors recover from trauma.

The panel answered questions from the audience of about 75 regarding risk prevention, official policies and other concerns. The panel urged attendees to each do something to change the status quo or raise awareness of the crime.

“It’s a business. [Traffickers] don’t look at that lightly. They trick kids … that person will start to groom that child, and then they’ll have sex with that child, and then they’ll shame that child and they’ll keep that cycle going,” Mason said. “You need to talk to your 5-year-old, you need to talk to your 7-year-old, you need to talk to everybody in your household.”

Human trafficking affects 25,000,000 people today from almost every country, according to World Affairs Council of Northwest Ohio President Bill Hilt. While Angie is currently safe, recovering from her experience and attending college, her story is rare and Hilt reminded the audience of that in his closing statement as panelist moderator.

“If you didn’t notice, at the end of the movie some words came on the screen,” said Hilt. “And they said ‘Now you know. What will you do?’”

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