By Michelle Contreras
September 13, 2011
It is a crime that should have ended with the abolition of slavery but it continues to happen. We imagine that human trafficking is happening in the poor towns of developing countries with limited opportunities. And it is, but it is also happening in the United States of America. Women and children are being lured, enticed and kidnapped to be forced into prostitution and labor without pay in the U.S. The further away a trafficker can take a woman from her home town, the less options and opportunities for escape she has. Once she is brought to the U.S. and thousands of miles away from home, she can remain at the mercy of her trafficker(s) for several years, decades, and in the worst of cases, she will die at the hands of her trafficker.
In order to address this important issue, Division 35’s Task Force on Feminist Perspectives on the Trafficking of Women was charged with developing a documentary film on this issue. The task force members brought together a substantial amount of video footage documenting the work that several U.S. based woman psychologists are taking on to contribute to the prevention of this crime. The video shoots were taken during the American Psychological Association’s San Diego 2010 Convention. The footage will become a part of the documentary film that is scheduled for release during June 2011. The documentary will provide an overview of trafficking, the psychological consequences of trafficking, and speak to the issues that are specific to women and trafficking. The documentary will be available for free viewing for the general public on the APA’s Division 35 website. The task force, led by Michelle Contreras since August, 2010, is developing a discussion guide to use the film in educational and organizational settings for trainings. Additionally, the task force plans to produce a version with Spanish subtitles.