When we think of the term “slavery”, it’s easy to conjure up images of America’s history of racism and subjugation of African Americans. But it’s time to update the definition, because there are more human slaves in existence today than at any other point in the history of the world. There is an estimated 27 million people caught in the trafficking trade worldwide, which includes sex trafficking as well as forced labor.
The overwhelming majority of victims are girls and women, but men and boys are also part of this horrific, sickening epidemic. The A21 campaign, an global organization working to rescue victims of sex trafficking, estimates that only 1-2% of victims will ever be rescued. That is a shockingly low number.
Rescuing a victim is only half of the work in terms of giving them a chance at a prosperous life. Rehabilitation is key, as is finding a means of financial independence so that those who are rescued are no longer vulnerable to getting trafficked again.
A Los Angeles-based non-profit has found a unique way to help trafficking victims heal from their ordeal. She Is uses the power of dance and movement as a form of therapy to empower women to know they are loved and valued and deserve to be treated with respect.
It was founded in September 2014 by California native and professional dancer Isabella Grosso, who has previously written a blog post on our site about her experience being sexually abused and how it led her to want to help other women in a similar situation. Together with one of her board members, Zuzana Lova, also a dance profession, who originates from the Czech Republic and is now based in California, the organization is set to release a documentary about the work they do in the US and around the world with their dance workshops.
The team have launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign which has a couple of weeks left to raise $35,000 to finish the production. Over the past few years they have brought their work to over 200 women, but they insist there is still a lot of work to do.
The documentary will be shot in the US, Thailand and India, and follow the lives of 6 girls who are on a mission to tackle the underworld of sex trafficking.
“The film will expose the severity and prevalence of the sex trade, both within and outside our borders. The She-Is team will document their experiences as they teach children to learn how to love their bodies and freely express their emotions through a safe, productive medium. Along the way, the film will document the stories of the many people that take part in the fight to eradicate the sex trade. Most importantly, the film will detail the harrowing accounts of the sex trade through the voices of the children exposed to it,” says a description on the Indiegogo campaign page.
“The documentary will serve to advocate a message of hope and spread the notion that everyone has a chance to make an impact. Despite the gravity of the problem, the aim of the documentary is to dispel the long-standing thought that one person can’t make a difference and inspire each viewer to take a stand.”
The reason they focus on dance is because of the incredible results the She Is team have seen in their survivors and participants.
“A victim of sexual abuse may have a negative connection to their body. Dance is an effective healing tool for survivors because of the connection it builds between the body and mind…The whole process of dance forces the mind to concentrate: Choreography builds memory and attention to detail,” they explain.
“The most crucial benefit of dance is the mental space it creates. Dance provides a safe haven where no thoughts can enter, no memories of the trauma she may have felt. It allows the student to simply be in the moment and let the mind heal.”
It’s easy to think of a global problem like sex trafficking and feel helpless to make a change. This documentary and the She Is team and showing you how easy it is to get involved, and the small amount of time it takes which can create a ripple effect. You don’t have to change your career or embark on a trip across the other side of the world, you can simply support the organizations already doing this by donating to the campaign to get this documentary funded.
When we look around the world today and all the problems that are getting plenty of mainstream media attention, it is incorrigible that human trafficking is not one of them. We are glad to see women and men who are dedicating their lives to helping victims regain a sense of empowerment and dignity.
Take a look at the campaign video below: