Social justice is a compelling issue for many young people, and the sex trafficking quagmire grips the hearts of those who begin to understand the depth of the problem and its immense ramifications. Brittany Lefebvre from Phoenix, Arizona joined the ranks of passionate abolitionists as a student when she was researching for a film project on sex trafficking. She has produced and line produced a dozen films and documentaries. The latest project is Volviendo Pursuit, a documentary of the Latin American sex slavery problem that exists from the northern Mexico border to the tip of South America.
Many in the Latin Americas live in the daily despair of poverty, so they are easy marks when promised jobs and a better life in the United States. With that hope, they join up with traffickers who are often frontrunners for gangs and drug cartels and head north. Lefebvre wanted to write a fictional story about one such girl who escapes from her sexual enslavement and tries to return home. Instead, when the reality and complexity of the forced prostitution scenarios were encountered face-to-face, the producer knew the bigger story lay in the truth. Volviendo is one result of the team’s journey through Central and South America.
Brittany Lefebvre’s interview with Examiner continues.
- People seem to take for granted somewhat that sex trafficking happens in other countries, but they are shocked to find the same in the US. What can we learn from the struggles of other countries to apply to the awareness factor of what is happening in our backyard?
Really the issue in Latin America breaks down to being no different than the issue we are seeing prevalent in the United States. The trafficked girls who are on our streets in the States are runaways and are usually coming from brokenness in the family. The girls in pursuit of America are no different. Even down there, kidnappings don’t happen as much as the recruitment happens. If we really look at it, we can see the root of sex trafficking, no matter what country, abuse is abuse… and it’s the abuse from the homes that is grooming these girls to be enslaved and continuously exploited.
Sex trafficking has no borders. The scary reality is to see how linked this illegal industry is to countries all over the world, especially in the US. In fact, one of the hardest truths to swallow was how much we contribute to the issue of sex slavery. As Americans we make up around 25% of the consumption of sex. So ultimately we are one of the largest reasons why this industry is flourishing.
- What has been the hardest part about doing this project?
This project has demanded every ounce of our lives in more ways than one. We were called to make this issue personal and that’s exactly what happened. Physically, last year traveling down Latin America was the first time I have ever truly suffered. We didn’t eat much, we were sick, constantly in horrific living conditions, always in the dark presence of evil and hardly spoke the language, giving us the clear understanding of what immigrants experience in their journeys. Then spiritually and emotionally, this last May I lived in Mexico for a month with rescued girls to learn and hear their hearts. To hear stories and to know and walk along side the suffering they are going through has been by far more intense than anything I have ever experienced in my entire life…. but by far the most life giving. This fight is now personal, and every day is the fight for the lives of my friends.
Next: A strategy for healing hearts from the effects of extreme sexual abuse
Previous: The beginnings of Volviendo Pursuit, a documentary on Latin American sex trafficking
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