Local human trafficking documentary sheds light on growing crime


MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLNS) – Human trafficking is a nationwide problem that’s often disguised…it can happen anywhere…anytime…without anyone noticing…

Tonight, a group of local film-makers shined a light on the issue of human trafficking here in Michigan with hopes of combatting the problem.

“I felt probably numb…I was always told never to show any emotion because that was a sign of weakness,” said Deborah Monroe; Sex Trafficking Survivor.

Pain and hopelessness…feelings Monroe experienced for nearly 25 years while she was a victim of sex trafficking.

“I had just turned 13 years old and went to the county fair, met a man when I was there and that night I left with him,” Monroe stated.

Monroe says she was taken and used as a sex slave fearing she would never escape…but most of all, fearing for her life.

“I became addicted to the lifestyle after a while and I just didn’t feel like there was ever going to be a way out,” said Monroe.

It’s the severity of sex trafficking and labor trafficking in Michigan that prompted film-maker Laura Swanson to co-create the documentary “Break the Chain” in hopes of bringing awareness to this growing problem.

“It’s highly prevalent, it’s always been there and we’re just now getting it out of the shadows,” said Swanson.

There are no exact numbers to represent human trafficking; in fact Swanson says it happens so frequently it’s important for people to notice the signs.

“The basis behind trafficking is the same…you have 3 main concepts which is force, fraud and coercion of an individual to do either sex or labor services for you,” Swanson stated.

But for Swanson, she hopes “Break the Chain” empowers people to take action when something doesn’t seem right and Monroe feels the same.

“There is help out there you know…just let somebody know what’s going on and they can connect you to the right people who are willing to support and help you,” said Monroe.

If you or someone you know is experiencing human trafficking of any kind, you can contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 and it’s important to remember you can remain anonymous.

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