FRANKFORT — Attorney General Andy Beshear, the Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Board and the University of Louisville recently announced an upcoming special screening of “I Am Jane Doe,” a worldwide documentary on child sex trafficking.
The 2017 film chronicles the battle of several American mothers on behalf of their middle-school daughters, who are victims of sex trafficking, against printed and online adult classifieds.
The film, narrated by Academy Award-nominee Jessica Chastain, will play at 6:30 p.m. on May 8 at the Clifton Center’s historic Eifler Theater in Louisville, located at 2117 Payne St. An expert panel discussion introduced by Beshear will follow the viewing of the film.
“We must continue to raise awareness on human trafficking and how it represents the worst form of abuse, often to children, in the Commonwealth,” Beshear said. “Human trafficking is increasing all over the Commonwealth, and as Kentuckians we must recognize the signs because it occurs in all our counties, cities and communities. By helping to bring this film to Kentucky, we have another opportunity to raise awareness about our obligation to prevent, identify and prosecute human trafficking cases.”
The Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Board, which is administered by the Office of the Attorney General, is co-sponsoring the film – currently only being shown in larger cities worldwide – through the Child Victims’ Trust Fund.
The Fund last year helped pay for nearly 400 child sexual abuse forensic exams and helped administer $160,000 in statewide grants aimed at teaching parents how to discuss child sexual abuse with children and how to keep children safe on the Internet.
Dr. Jennifer Middleton, director of the University of Louisville’s Human Trafficking Research Initiative, is spearheading the efforts to bring “I Am Jane Doe” to Louisville and is working with
Beshear’s office to raise awareness on human trafficking.
Beshear recently joined Dr. Middleton and her colleagues at the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work to announce a study from the school that found that 40 percent of homeless youth surveyed in Louisville and southern Indiana reported being victims of sex trafficking, mostly in exchange for money or lodging.
“Based on the findings of our recent research study, it is clear that child sex trafficking is prevalent in our community, particularly among our most vulnerable children,” Dr. Middleton said. “The good news is that there is a lot that we can do to combat the issue and even prevent it from happening. And it starts with increasing the community’s knowledge and awareness about the issue.”
The Eifler Theater at the Clifton Center seats approximately 500 guests. To obtain admission information and to register for the event, please visit the event page at http://bit.ly/2ogJzkh. The event is free to the public but space is limited, so pre-registration is strongly encouraged. For additional questions about the event, please call the Human Trafficking Research Initiative at 502-852-3651.
At the completion of the film, a panel will discuss with the audience the documentary and the signs of human trafficking. The panelists include: Donna Pollard, survivor and member of Beshear’s Survivors Council; Julie Horen, coordinator of the My Life My Choice prevention program at Catholic Charities Human Trafficking Program; Allyson Taylor, director of Beshear’s Office of Child Abuse and Exploitation Prevention; Michael Littrell, cyber investigator for Beshear’s Department of Criminal Investigations; and Angela Renfro, survivor and director of the Kristy Love Foundation.
“Human trafficking is a crime and its victims are often hidden, which makes awareness especially important and also difficult to achieve,” Renfro said. “It is important for everyone in our community to be aware of the human trafficking problem in our community. Because you can make a difference.”
Beshear is encouraging Kentuckians to support the Child Victims’ Trust Fund through private donations, proceeds from the purchase of “I Care About Kids” license plates or donations made through the state income tax refund check-off program. To support victims of child sexual abuse, Kentuckians may visit their county clerk’s office and request an “I Care About Kids” license plate or check the box on their tax returns to designate a portion to the CVTF.