Eau Claire will be among the first cities in the United States to show an internationally acclaimed documentary film that depicts the horrors of sex trafficking.
Fierce Freedom, an Eau Claire nonprofit organization that combats human trafficking, has organized a one night screening of the movie “I am Jane Doe,” which was released this past February. The film will be shown at the State Theater here on Tuesday, May 23 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at www.eauclairearts.com
The film chronicles the legal campaign several American mothers are waging on behalf of their middle school daughters who were bought and sold for sex on the Internet site Backpage.com, the adult classifieds section that for years was part of the Village Voice. The plaintiffs featured in the film include middle school girls from Boston, a 15-year-old violinist from Seattle and a precocious 13-year-old from St. Louis.
“I am Jane Doe,” written and directed by Mary Mazzio, follows the legal efforts of the girls and their mothers, which seek to overturn Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. That part of the law has been interpreted by federal judges to allow websites to advertise underage girls for sex.
The Eau Claire showing of the 91-minute movie will include a post-movie panel of sex-trafficking experts. Among the panelists will be Dara Reppucci and Jessica Soto, lawyers from the Boston law firm Ropes & Gray which represents mothers suing the government.
Other panel members will include Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Pfluger; Fredi-Ellen Bove, Administrator for the Division of Safety and Permanence at the Department of Children and Families; Ashley Nischke, clinical manager of Transitions Home; Eau Claire Police Lt. Ryan Dahlgren; and Jodi Emerson, Director of Public Policy and Community Relations at Fierce Freedom.
“We are excited to bring this movie to the Chippewa Valley to help educate people that underage sex trafficking is happening in all parts of the country, including right here,” Emerson said. “Backpage and other businesses like them are profiting from the selling of this country’s children. We cannot stand quietly by any longer. This needs to be talked about but more importantly, this needs to stop.”
Human trafficking is the fastest-growing crime in the world and affects about 46 million people. In the United States, officials estimate 300,000 children each year are sexually exploited, with 12 as the average age of entry into human trafficking.
To reach Fierce Freedom with questions or comments about this event, contact Emerson by phone at 715-514-2890 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.