Introductory Remarks by Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking In Persons Followed by Q&A and discussion with advocates, moderated by filmmaker Libby Spears
Directed by Libby Spears; Executive produced by George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Steven Soderbergh
This poignant documentary about the commercial sexual exploitation of children in America has been screened around the country. It has been referenced by legislators like Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) who have seen it and felt compelled by its powerful message: "Child sex trafficking happens to our children, in our country." The sexual exploitation of children is a problem that we tend to relegate to back-alley brothels in developing countries.
This is where filmmaker Libby Spears began her sensitive investigation into the topic. But she quickly concludes that very little thrives on this planet without American capital, and the commercial child sex industry is thriving. A meeting with Ernie Allen, President of the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, confirmed to Libby what her research was beginning to uncover: that the trafficking of children for commercial sexual exploitation is every bit as real in North America. And this is where Playground really begins.
Spears intelligently traces the epidemic to its disparate, and decidedly domestic, roots—among them the way children are educated about sex, and the problem of raising awareness about a crime that is often carefully hidden. Her cultural observations are couched in the search for Michelle, an American girl lost to the underbelly of childhood sexual exploitation who has yet to resurface a decade later. Playground documents the incredible challenges we face as a society.
Luckily, some legislators have decided to meet that challenge. The "Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2010" was originally introduced in December by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) as S.2925. It passed from the Senate Judiciary unanimously and awaits a vote by the Senate. The House bill, H.R. 5575, was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) in June and awaits action in the House Judiciary Committee.
Seating is limited. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.