As part of my 36 Hope Expands Series, I am practicing proximity by sharing the film The Long Night by Tim Matsui with other members of The Global Team of 200. The film is free to watch through this weekend.
The film follows lives effected by domestic sex trafficking in the Seattle area.
Seattle. The United States. Human trafficking happens here too.
The film is difficult to watch. Being exposed to such profound pain is not fun. I almost deleted this whole post, when I realized that part of proximity is hard.
I would like to share two parts of the film with you.
Lisa, a heroin addict and prostitute, arrived at Genesis (a program implemented by the police to help trafficked minors into a new life.) A police officer gave her a bathrobe. She wept at the simple act of care.
The runaway returned home, yet felt she would never be able to win her parents forgiveness. ‘I didn’t need to. They loved me unconditionally.’
Tim Matsui has not stopped with just making the film. He worked with The Fourth Act, an organization that brings storytellers and images together to create change and The Fledgling Fund doing the same through filmmaking.
There are hard things out there that shouldn’t be. It is so easy to look away.
Our challenge is to look and shrink the distance between us and those in need and respond.
It’s about proximity.
Start by viewing this photograph. It is cause to pause.
A degenerative eye condition left Ginny blind. I never knew that about her. It is her story now and she sings.
It’s these words that I love…
You are not through with me yet.
Thank goodness. Because I feel like one frigid mess right now. I’m not even a hot mess. For everyone that is put together, I don’t get it. I get so weary of battling myself and all I feel like I should be.
What you want… I say yes.
Because God, you are good to stay with me and not be through.
One of my other favorite songs is Coldplay’sFix You.
Sometimes he doesn’t want us to fix ourselves constantly. He kind of loves us just as we are.
What are your favorite songs? How do they break you and draw close to God?
A big welcome to our guest writer, Diane Harvey. She’s a super woman at placing herself in the proximity of renewal. She’s also our steady friend from Australia full of insight and encouragement.
I saw the movie,Trade of Innocents last night, starring Dermot Mulroney and Mira Sorvino, which focuses on the worldwide problem of human trafficking. It was powerful and distressing just like I thought it would be. It was a thriller. I felt my heart beating in some places, and spent most of the time with my hands gripping my tissue packet.
The movie is set in one community in South East Asia. The American husband and wife were played by Dermot Mulroney and Mira Sorvino. He was a detective and they were both trying to come to terms with the kidnapping and loss of their own young daughter in an idyllic American suburb.
There was resistance to the investigative operation. The police chief argued that the problem was too big to fix and that they were only after one man, that it was better to agree with the community who see and remain silent. We later found out that he was being paid off and was himself part of the problem as he was gaining financially by tipping the trafficker onto raids and turning a blind eye.
The disturbing trade is highlighted in the interaction between the American tourist, who appeared to be a married businessman and family man, but who wanted to use really young girls, and the brutal trafficker who agreed to supply ‘freshly picked flowers’ for him through kidnapping.
We got a glimpse into the lives of the women and girls who were already captive, in one scene we saw one lady physically, verbally and emotionally abused by the trafficker who later died of her injuries. The dialogue transitioned to unsubtitled Thai in this scene, which added to the viewer’s feeling of powerlessness, horror and fright.
In the quiet moments we were taken with the sweet American lady (Sorvino) who shared about her story of loss, and helped escaped victims tell their story and begin to heal as they woke up each day in a safe environment. When she began her work, they were wary of her. A local had said to her, “they don’t trust Americans. They come, take their photos and leave nothing (good) behind.”
I have been thinking about this topic for a while so I wasn’t being presented with this grimy reality for the first time. The thing that did shock me was the reference to the practice of sewing girls back up to make them appear as virgins. I knew that women sometimes do this before marriage in some cultures to appear virginal, but it didn’t occur to me that this was being done as part of this evil trade.
At the end of the movie we had various non-profit partners speak to us about what they do in prevention, rescue and rehabilitation and heard some stories of hope. We were encouraged to pray about what part we could play and encouraged that we can act both individually and corporately to fight this trade (which is larger than the arms trade and the drug trade). I signed a petition for our country to have a minister for human trafficking, gathered some brochures, a fridge magnet on a “Walk for Freedom” fundraiser and left with the determination to fight this evil trade.
Will you join with me in my fight to abolish modern day slavery?
Diane Harvey resides in Perth, Australia. She is 36, has been happily married for 6 years, and has two beautiful children. She has studied education and theology. Currently, she is on maternity leave and serving in her church in the areas of women’s discipleship and social justice.
When families have limited means for purchasing food they buy the cheapest options. This is often unhealthy food full of empty calories. A way to fight hunger in the United States is to help make healthy food available.
Make your local food pantry a priority.
Teach your kids about food insecurity. Sesame Street Download Eating Well on a Budget.
Many farmers’s market are accepting SNAP payments, see if your local market makes this available.
Support community gardens.
[Barbie Izquierdo and kids in A PLACE AT THE TABLE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.]
The movie documents a year of following the Shakespeare Behind Bars theater troupe. The troupe began in the mid 1990’s with volunteer director Curt Tofteland and inmates at Luther Luckett.
Shakespeare’s The Tempest takes place on a remote island. The story follows Prospero whose throne was taken unjustly by his brother. Prospero seeks to restore himself and establish justice. There are strong underlying themes of forgiveness and justice in this great work of Shakespeare.
The film is a beautiful and moving example of the power of creative arts in the lives of those who seek to be renewed.
This film is also an example of the term restorative justice.
The restorative justice page of the organization World Renew is a great resource.
Definition: Restorative Justice is a biblically based view of criminal justice that attempts to engage victims, offenders and the affected communities in bringing about deep and lasting solutions by focusing on restitution, restoration, healing, and the future. At its core, it’s about relationships.
Have you witnessed creative arts help restore life?
Tune in October 1 and 2 on your local PBS channel to watch.
The authors, film makers, and activists visit ten countries. Through the film they put a human face of the abstract ideas of trafficking, prostitution, violence, and poverty. In the midst of difficult circumstances, they profile woman who have sought innovative ways to change their situations and the situations of others.
You will be inspired by the courageous stories of the women and girls profiled. This is an important conversation to join in making a difference.
I like music. (Sometimes I listen to ‘secular’ music.) But, it doesn’t really feel that way to me.
I really, really like LOVE stories. I love them so much, I watch You Tube montages of love stories. My friends know, but I don’t think I should admit with what regularity I do this in. (Am I watching this montage of Anne of Green Gables and Gilbert for the seventeenth time? No, that’s absurd…)
Lyrics are words that move hearts, set to music.
Whether a song has a secular theme or not, I always feel Christ’s love for me.
Use Somebody is originally by Coldplay. I like the version by Laura Jansen, too. (I listen to it seventeen times in a row.)
A Love Letter to You:
I’ve been roaming around…
And God calls out~
You know I could use somebody
Someone like you and all you know and how you speak