By Godfrey Lee
A special screening of “California’s Forgotten Children,” a film about children who were victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking, was shown at the San Rafael Elks Lodge #1108, on Nov. 2, 2022.
A Hula dance group performed, and hamburger dinner was served prior to the screening of the film. Laurel Botsford, founding president and CEO of Wisdom International: Help2Others presented the film. Marin County District Attorney Lori Frugoli joined Botsford after the screening to answer questions concerning human trafficking.
“California’s Forgotten Children” is an award-winning, feature-length documentary directed by Melody C. Miller, and, according to the documentary’s website, exposes the commercial sexual exploitation of children in California.
Survivors shown in the documentary share their individual stories and help the viewer gain insight into this hidden world. Available online, the film can be shared with children who may also be facing such issues themselves wherever they live.
The resilient survivors featured in the film overcame the commercial sexual exploitation that they experienced as children. They are now changing the world by ensuring that no child is forgotten.
Stories from movement leaders like orator Withelma “T” Ortiz Walker Pettigrew, attorney Carissa Phelps, academic scholar Minh Dang, activist Leah Jonet Albright-Byrd, therapist Nikolaos Al-Khadra, and educator Rachel Thomas, M. Ed., were featured in the documentary.
Current statistics and perspectives on sexual exploitation from professionals in social services, law enforcement, advocates and child welfare were also shown in the film.
Through their honest, personal stories, viewers can see the real world of sex trafficking by uncovering every aspect of commercial sexual exploitation. The film presents a better understanding of this crime, and encourages people to act against the injustice, violence, and slavery, and keep children safe from behind-doors rape.
Viewers also develop empathy for the children being unjustly arrested for prostitution and learn about how to help empower survivors on their path to freedom. Hope and inspiration is found through these survivors who have overcome incredible trauma and who are now leaders in their communities.
If you suspect human trafficking or recruitment and grooming in progress, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888, or the new San Francisco Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-415-907-9911.
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