Earlier this year, filmmaker David Trotter released a documentary about India’s orphans. It was a moving and unforgettable look at something few of us will ever see first hand. His next project turns the focus to the United States, to five cities we might not think of when we think of human trafficking.
In Plain Sight will follow five families in these cities as they uncover an atrocity happening right in their own neighborhoods.
Read on for a Q&A with Trotter about the film and why he needs our help to make it happen. You’ll find a link to watch a video about the project at the end of the post, as well.
1. A lot of organizations and documentaries focus on trafficking in other countries. Your focus is on the U.S. Why?
Last year, I produced a documentary on 25 orphans living along the railway in southern India, and I really wanted to turn my attention toward an issue in the United States that the average person is still quite unaware of. Most people I connect with think that sex trafficking is something that happens in other countries, and the news stories that we hear on TV are simply isolated incidents. They don’t actually think that it could be happening in their city.
2. How did you become aware of human trafficking, and how did this project come together?
Over the past couple of years, I’ve read a few articles online about human trafficking, and I started to learn about the nuances of the issue. While the term human trafficking can refer to all sorts of human slavery (primarily revolving around labor), I began to learn that sex trafficking specifically involved the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the specific purpose of obtaining commercial sex. The ultimate result is the generation of money from the sex work of another. While I had personally witnessed this in India in red-light districts and in China at a karaoke bar, I was shocked to find out sex trafficking was happening in the US.
I approached Word Entertainment, who distributed my first documentary, about the possibility of a second film, and they connected me with the work of Abolition International. We began to develop a relationship with their team and developed a concept for a unique film unlike anything that’s been produced thus far. In the process, Natalie Grant (founder of Abolition International and 5 time GMA Vocalist of the Year) was excited to join the project as an Executive Producer and Narrator to bring attention to this critical issue.
3. Tell us a little about the film as you envision it. What can people expect to see in the documentary?
Rather than just focusing on statistics and expert interviews, we will travel to five US cities that you may not necessarily think of when it comes to sex trafficking. We plan to document the lives of five unsuspecting families as they go about their everyday lives and help open their eyes to what’s happening “in plain sight” right down the street from them. As the viewer connects with the family, the hope is that they simultaneously have an “ah-ha” moment about what may be happening in their city as well.
Frankly, most sex trafficking documentaries are completely depressing, and we’re committed to making IN PLAIN SIGHT an inspiring film. In order to do so, we’ll be profiling the work of five different aftercare homes (one in each city) by sharing stories of freedom and hope that are rising out of the darkness of sexual slavery. Each one of those non-profits happen to be part of the Abolition International Shelter Association. The bottom line is that we want people to be motivated by the fact that there are solutions emerging. People are experiencing positive results, and we need to learn from them and replicate their work in other cities.
4. You’re asking for a community of abolitionists to help fund this project. How will the money be used? And why do you need the support?
Through an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign (www.StoriesofFreedom.com), we are in the process of raising a lean budget of $75,000 to fund this project. 100% of the money goes to cover the expenses associated with production costs. I have recruited a professional team to shoot, edit, write, and score the film, and they’re willing to invest themselves at an extremely reduced rate.
We’re blown away how the pieces are coming together (i.e., Word’s willingness to distribute the project, Abolition International’s assistance, Natalie Grant, and a stellar team of professionals), but what we don’t have is a deep-pocketed investor to cover the costs of the project. That’s why we’re turning to people who are passionate about the issue to invite them to help us create resources that will raise awareness and motivate people to take action to stop sex trafficking in the US.
5. This isn’t just about a documentary. You’re also promoting a CD and devotional. What do you hope people will gain from the extra resources?
We want the documentary to be accessible to people of all backgrounds and faiths. We want anyone to be able to sit down and watch it – increasing their awareness of the issue and motivating them to take action – without forcing them to overcome a worldview that may be quite different than their own. Yet, we also know that followers of Jesus have a unique passion for this topic, and we want to equip the Church with additional resources.
Specifically, we’ll be producing a compilation worship album with songs of hope and freedom from some of your favorite Christian artists. We want the songs to point people to the Source of all that we need in order to fight this horrendous challenge in our nation, and we believe that the album will be a healing balm to our souls in their process. In addition, I’m co-authoring a 31 day devotional and small group study guide with Stacia Freeman (President of Abolition International) focusing on God’s heart of the vulnerable and broken in our world. We truly want to equip ordinary people to help stop sex trafficking in the United States.
To watch Natalie Grant share about the project or to make a donation, go to www.StoriesofFreedom.com.