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Film screening aims to raise awareness of sex trafficking

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Photo courtesy of Josh Goodman

A local organization is hosting a film screening at the UA tonight in order to raise awareness about trafficking in Tucson.

Sold No More is an organization that focuses on eradicating sex trafficking in Tucson. The organization also conducts awareness programs on trafficking, in addition to helping girls who are recovering trafficking victims, according to Megan Goodman, the program manager for Sold No More. Sold No More is putting on multiple events within the next few weeks to raise awareness about trafficking.

The first event is the screening of a film titled “Sex Money: A National Search for Human Worth.” The film is a documentary about sex trafficking in the U.S. and the efforts to fight it.

Jessica Doehrmann, a second-year optical sciences graduate student, went to a viewing of “Sex Money” last spring that inspired her to become involved with Sold No More.

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Doehrmann said she decided to host a showing of the documentary to “build awareness, because a lot of people don’t know about the injustice of sex trafficking in the United States.”

Doehrmann said she thought of her younger sister when she first saw the film.

“It hits home when you realize that those are the girls that are in [trafficking],” Doehrmann said. “If it was another life, that could have been my sister.”

On Nov. 2, Sold No More will hold the second annual Walk 4 Freedom. The event includes a 5 km run, as well as a 2-mile walk for those who aren’t runners.

There will also be other activities at the run, such as face painting and an obstacle course, according to Goodman.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Sold No More and go toward launching awareness programs in all middle schools in Tucson, according to Goodman, as well as to support victims’ services.
“It’s going to be a family-friendly event,” Goodman said. “We want to celebrate the work that’s been done.”

The founder’s daughter was trafficked in Tucson as a teenager, which inspired him to start Sold No More three years ago, Goodman said.

“He realized it was a growing problem in Tucson [and] wanted to address it so that other girls like his daughter didn’t experience that and other families didn’t go through that,” Goodman said.

Sold No More focuses mostly on prevention, and reaches out to middle school and high school students to inform them about trafficking and how to protect themselves. However, Goodman said there is a lot of opportunity to raise awareness about trafficking at the university level as well.

“It’s the number one issue that college students are passionate about right now on campuses,” Goodman said.

Ahva Sadeghi, a political science, philosophy, economics and law junior, recently founded a UA club called United, which will have its first meeting at the beginning of next month. United is just one of many clubs on campus that addresses human trafficking.

“The most important thing to combat it is creating awareness and educating people,” Sadeghi said, “because it’s a preventative measure.”

Sadeghi said she was shocked when she discovered how much of a hub Tucson is for trafficking.

“It’s terrifying,” Sadeghi said, “and it’s even more terrifying that we don’t know about it.”

Sadeghi interned with the Peace Corps and researched cases of human trafficking last summer.

Sadeghi said she spent her time at the Peace Corps in educating about trafficking and raising awareness, which inspired her to educate more people about all realms of human rights.

“Because of my understanding of how important education is, I thought I could also educate other students,” Sadeghi said, “and I have a great platform at the U of A and the resources to be able to do so.”

The Internet is being used to facilitate the trafficking that is happening in town, and social media is a main factor in finding girls for trafficking, Goodman said.

Doehrmann said the trafficking business is thriving and that unless people know about it, it won’t stop. It’s everyone’s responsibility to become aware of trafficking issues and act on them, Doehrmann added.

“Those girls — what they live in is a hell on Earth kind of thing, and that’s the reality of their life,” Doehrmann said. “As soon as you find out about it, you can no longer be ignorant. You can no longer say that you didn’t know.”

If you go:

Sex Money: A National Search for Human Worth
Cesar Chavez Building Room 111
Thursday, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Walk 4 Freedom
Reid Park, 955 S. Lakeshore Lane
Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon

This article previously stated the event would take place in the Integrated Learning Center. The event has been moved to the Cesar Chavez building. The article has been updated to reflect that change.

- Follow Maggie Driver @Maggie_Driver


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