Photojournalist Exposes Sex Trafficking in the United States

Written by Stacy Gammill, Communications Manager & Chief Writer, Mom Bloggers Club Network

It is every parent’s worst fear—their child lured away from their family by promises of fun, adventure and independence then unwittingly caught in the thick web of child sex trafficking and prostitution.

But most parents rest easy believing that kind of thing only happens in other countries, to other people’s children, who are from broken homes.

Filmmaker Tim Matsui’s new documentary, “The Long Night,” exposes child sex trafficking and underage prostitution very close to home—in Seattle, Washington. Mr. Matsui has been documenting child victimization and sexual exploitation for over 15 years as an award-winning documentary filmmaker, multimedia journalist and producer, but this time he brings his lens to focus on the problem here in American communities.

It is estimated that there are at least 100,000 children in the sex traffic industry in the United States, with the average age of entry being 12- to 14-year-old girls.

“The Long Night” follows two young girls, one from a suburban middle-class background, who were lured away from their families and homes and soon became immersed in an underground life of sex for survival, drug addiction and abuse from their pimps.

Mr. Matsui connects how social media is a tool used by predators and pimps to groom young girls and boys for prostitution and lure them away from home. Mr. Matsui followed along with the Seattle police who week after week were arresting the same girls. Part of the cycle associated with minors in sex trade is they are criminalized instead of rehabilitated.

The documentary doesn’t provide a solution to the problem, rather it seeks to spark the conversation about a secretive industry that is permeating cities and towns across America. Mr. Matsui states, “When we talk about domestic minor sex trafficking, we are potentially talking about a young girl or boy who lives on your block. And, yes, we are talking about your community creating that demand for exploitation.”

Currently the film is only available for streaming online, but a Kickstarter campaign has been started to help bring the film to more accessible forms to be shared in communities and schools and also with local governments, law enforcement and first responders.  If you would like to help bring this documentary to a community near you, check out the Kickstarter page, share it with your friends and consider making a donation.

Written by Stacy Gammill, Communications Manager & Chief Writer, Mom Bloggers Club Network. You can follow her on Twitter @stacy_gammill.

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