By Christy Ulmet
About 625 people filled the Courts at Trevecca Community Church to watch a story on the reality of human sex trafficking in our world today.
“Trade of Innocents,” directed by Christopher Bessette, was shown on campus Monday night.
The event, hosted by the center for social justice, was designed to open the eyes of its audience to the morbid reality of human sex trafficking.
“The purpose of bringing this film to Trevecca is to highlight a major social justice issue of our day,” said Jamie Casler, director of J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.
Human trafficking is considered number two on the World Crimes list and Casler said the medium of film was a great venue to reach multiple age groups, so that the problem could be easily understood as it was portrayed in the movie.
Opening the screening to the community helped accomplish many of the goals that the social justice department has, and to challenge its viewers to take action.
Showing the film challenged students, even non-social justice majors, to do what they could to help.
“I was trying to think of ways that being a musician could make a difference in that area. Whatever your opinion on the film was, there’s no way you can know about this and not care, and want to do something that’s more than thinking about it. We’re really good at thinking about things but not doing anything,” said Cory Williams, a sophomore music major.
Trevecca was able to host the event because of a marketing competition that three recent graduates won in the spring of 2012.
One of the students, Gregory Steward, admitted that he initially went into the competition for the scholarship money, but it quickly became about much more than that for him.
“It’s one of those things that you can’t turn your eyes away from,” he said. “It’s hard to look at because of how much of a tragedy is involved in it, but at the same time it is such an eye opening experience.”
The movie stars four main American actors: Dermot Mulroney as Alex Becker, Mira Sorvino as Claire Becker, John Billingsley as Malcolm Eddrey, and Trieu Tran as Duke.
The rest of the characters were chosen by casting agents in Bangkok, Thailand, where the film was shot.
The story is set in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where trafficking happens daily. In this buzzing city, people are often silent about the things that they see and turn their heads, rather than report what they witness.
“This is not a superhero movie,” said Bessette. “These are things that I lived through and witnessed put to life.”
Many of the lines that the Cambodian locals said in the movie were direct quotes from real life situations that Bessette witnessed firsthand. In telling the story of his journey with the movie, Bessette said that God set up a years-long journey that culminated in the production of the film.
The film was a personal project for Bessette, as he had to encounter situations when he was with an investigator trying to scoop out some details and ideas for the film.
For instance, in one scene a mother refers to her daughter saying, “When pig is small, it is worth so much. But when pig is bigger, we can still sell it.”
Bessette said he implemented many different symbols into the film, including the color red to represent redemption.
Bessette left viewers with a challenge at the end of the film, urging them to join the fight in combating human trafficking.
For more information, or to see where you can view the movie, visit www.tradeofinnocentsthemovie.com.