TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - November 21, 2016) - On Thursday, November 10th, International Justice Mission (IJM) Canada hosted one of four exclusive pre-screenings of the film She Has A Name at Toronto City Church in East York. Based on the critically acclaimed play of the same name, the compelling drama shines a light on the disturbing inner workings of Thailand's sex trafficking industry. Through an initiative called "Fund Freedom", a portion of the proceeds from film sales will support IJM's casework to combat sex trafficking. The film is set to release globally on December 2, 2016.
About 35 individuals from the community were in attendance, including Barb Gosse, CEO of the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, and Abi Ajibolade, Executive Director of The Redwood Women's Shelter. Film writer and producer Andrew Kooman joined Glenn Waterman (VP Development and Marketing at IJM Canada) on the stage to engage the audience in a post-screening Q&A on the topic of human trafficking.
"This abhorrent crime devastates our women and girls, our most vulnerable, and we cannot be complicit in this type of evil," Gosse commented. "Girls are used as animals by tourists, pimps and traffickers -- Canadians among them. Educate yourself and talk about this -- it can, and does happen in our own backyards."
"It was very impacting to see [in the film] what happens in this industry in terms of transporting and the act of buying and selling women and children," said Kharri Oosthuyzen, Media Representative for NGO Martial Arts for Justice. "The details surrounding the price of certain commodities, like the virginity of a girl or the young age of a boy, was gut wrenching. Society needs to get angry about this injustice before something can be done."
Attendees were encouraged to spread the word about the film and to continue the dialogue in the community about the human trafficking issue both global and local. Andrew Kooman gave some insight into the Fund Freedom program and why the filmmakers chose to support IJM Canada.
"I've always respected the heart of IJM Canada and the work the organization does globally to stand up for the rights of the vulnerable," Kooman said. "When our producing team explored the ground-breaking distribution plan to share the film through anti-trafficking networks to Fund Freedom, IJM was a natural fit." Kooman hopes that by simply watching the film, "people all over the world will fund the important work IJM does every day to rescue and restore victims of human trafficking."
Every year, millions of vulnerable children and women are trafficked for sex around the world. Human trafficking generates about $150 billion a year -- two thirds from commercial sexual exploitation(i) and there are approximately two million children being exploited in the global commercial sex trade(ii). IJM works tirelessly to bring justice to victims of trafficking, from initial rescue to immediate aftercare. Although IJM does conduct rescue operations, the events portrayed in She Has A Name do not accurately reflect IJM's investigative methods.
In the film, "the investigation and attempted rescue, while exciting, is highly dramatized," Glenn Waterman said. "The actual work done by IJM investigators is lengthy and involves careful collection of evidence, the building of a solid case, the involvement of local police officials and careful planning to care for the victims who are rescued.
"We owe a great debt to the men and women who tirelessly work to rescue those who are trapped in these horrific circumstances and hope She Has A Name will cause many more Canadians to become aware and involved in this fight."
As the world's largest global anti-slavery organization, International Justice Mission currently works to combat sex trafficking and sexual violence across ten countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Latin America. Learn more at www.ijm.ca.
International Justice Mission Canada is part of a global organization that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM Partners with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems. IJM Canada shares in this mission.
(i) ILO - http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_243201/lang--en/index.htm
(ii) UNICEF. State of the World's Children 2005: Childhood under Threat. Retrieved August 15, 2011 from http://www.unicef.org/sowc05/english/sowc05.pdf
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