EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – It’s a haunting reality that’s not easy for many of us to understand. Men, women and children are kidnapped or sold into slavery for unspeakable reasons.
Whether its exploitation for prostitution, forced labor or slavery, human trafficking is a daily occurrence, even here in Wisconsin.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, trafficking crimes have been reported in more than half of the state's 72 counties. 75 percent of the encountered victims were involved in sex-related crimes. 25 percent were abused through labor trafficking. And 15 percent of Wisconsin’s trafficking victims were children.
Now a thought-provoking movie is coming to town in hopes of opening your eyes.
The movie ‘Not Today’ is being shown at Micon Cinemas on Mall Dr. in Eau Claire from Friday through next Thursday.
The story is about a privileged 20-year-old young man who is living the life. But what was supposed to be a wild trip to India changes his life forever, after he meets a father who sells his daughter to a man who promises to take care of her, but instead, she's about to be trafficked.
“I know a lot of people it's really hard to understand that this is happening right here but it looks different than when we think about in Cambodia or Thailand but there's a lot of its really tied to prostitution,” said Jenny Almquist, director of Fierce Freedom.
Fierce Freedom is a local organization that raises awareness on human trafficking through education and legislation.
“We know of parents who are selling their children into sex trafficking which is really hard to believe and its really hard to take but it’s happening,” said Almquist.
Together, Fierce Freedom, the Living Room Coffee House and community members brought the film to Eau Claire by pre-purchasing 400 tickets.
“I think people will really be challenged to think what can we do right here. That’s our job to bring it back home here,” she said.
And those tragic stories also live in the lives of people here in town.
“We're working with eight women right now in the Chippewa Valley who are survivors,” said Almquist. She added it gives the community a personal experience to connect with.
Right now, she said Fierce Freedom is working with Bolton Refuge House in Eau Claire to give survivors a place to go and seek help.
Whether it’s through calling legislators or showcasing a movie, Almquist said change begins here.
“It’s going to take everybody. We in the U.S. just recently started counting so we got a long ways to go,” she said. “Our state department said it’s the fastest growing crime across the planet, it will probably this year overtake drug trafficking.”
To find out what times ‘Not Today’ is playing at Micon Cinemas, call 715-834-1245.