Production Still 11 [Sting in Denver] Tricked documentary screening comes to LSC TheaterImage of

Tricked documentary screening comes to LSC Theater

tricked_anti-traffickingEach month thousands of victims across the country enter the sex trade to satisfy America’s $3 billion a year sex trafficking industry. It’s an industry fueled by greed, fantasy, and the commercial and sexual exploitation of American children. Some opt in by choice. But most have no such luxury, falling prey to the elaborate schemes of predators. It’s a modern-day form of slavery.

According to filmmaker Jane Wells in a 2013 “HuffPost Live” interview, sex trafficking is “a dirty little secret that people don’t want to know about.” She thinks most people just prefer to think of it as a problem that happens overseas, or to people over the border, not something that happens in our communities.

But, the documentary Tricked, which Wells spent three years making with John-Keith Wasson, exposes the sex trafficking crimes taking place in cities across the country through the narratives of women prostitutes, their families, the law enforcement trying to stop it, and the pimps that help it continue. The Department of Communication Studies is hosting a free screening of Tricked on Monday, April 6, at 5:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theater.

Tricked follows Denver police squad Sgt. Dan Steele and his colleagues in their dogged pursuit of traffickers and devotion to rescuing victims. In Las Vegas, ground zero for escort services, Las Vegas Police detectives work to hit traffickers where it hurts them most, by seizing their financial assets. In New York, Colorado and Las Vegas, brash and unrepentant johns reveal the how, why, when and where of what they call “a hobby.”

From Sgt. Steele to the survivors, Tricked weaves together dramatic, disparate, inter-dependent characters and provides an unflinching view of the world of sex trafficking, the almost incomprehensible and disturbing bonds between the traffickers and victims and the seemingly insurmountable challenges faced by law enforcement nationwide.

Tricked is absolutely heartbreaking and frightening at the same time,” says senior Madeline Gallegos, who watched the film this semester in her Communication and Anti-Human Trafficking course taught by Dr. Karrin Anderson. “It’s terrifying to think that trafficking is occurring all around us, but it’s even more distressing knowing that there are victims and survivors all around us and yet it’s an issue we hardly give ample attention as a whole.”

Anderson and her students hope to change that by hosting a post-screening community discussion on the issues surrounding trafficking in Larimer County, Colorado, and across the nation. Center for Public Deliberation student facilitators will lead the discussion, which is open to all attendees.

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