January 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A new documentary exposes how abortion fuels the sex trafficking of women, including minors, in the United States.
Blind Eyes Opened debuted with a one-night-only event in over 500 U.S. theaters on January 23. The film was produced by the non-profit Christian film production outlet based in Tampa, Florida, Ships of Tarshish Inc. Its main message is that sex trafficking is happening right now in the United States and it makes the case that abortion is helping to make it happen.
“They can’t admit that there is a connection between sex trafficking and abortion because then that makes abortion part of the problem. I mean abortion is the best thing on the planet for an abuser because it covers up and hides the abuse,” former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson and author of Unplanned is quoted as saying in the film.
“Once you’ve learned how to recognize human trafficking, you begin to see it everywhere – it’s in every single community,” Geoffrey Rogers, Executive Producer of Blind Eyes Opened and CEO of the US Institute Against Human Trafficking, said in the film’s press release.
Blind Eyes Opened is filled with strong testimonies from those who have been victims of sex trafficking. It tells the stories of many survivors whose trafficking began when they were young, and many of whose parents were complicit in trafficking. It provides powerful interviews from various perspectives, but also touches on the power and love of Christ’s healing.
Executive Producer and writer of the film Kerri Rogers said in the film’s press release: “We absolutely need the church to engage in this crucial battle; but first, followers of Christ have to allow themselves to see the problem, and that’s what this movie aims to do.” “If we’re going to truly overcome the evil of sex trafficking, hearts have to change; and this only happens through the love of Christ.”
The United States Department of Justice defines sex trafficking as, “a) Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or b) The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. (22 U.S.C. § 7102(9)).”
Alexis Walkenstein, President of AWE, Inc., and the Catholic marketing and public relations representative for the film spoke to LifeSiteNews the week after its debut. “It opened successfully and had a strong response,” said Walkenstein. “Sex trafficking is one of the prongs in the pro-life area, and it’s one of those things that is really hard for people to wrap their arms around, what is sex trafficking, human trafficking, and this documentary really exposes it to the church, and puts kind of a call to action on the church… this is a huge issue,” she added.
Walkenstein encourages churches to license screenings of Blind Eyes Opened to help get the message out about the film. To arrange a screening or attend a showing of one that has already been scheduled, follow this link.
Walkenstein helped promote the powerful pro-life film Unplanned about Abby Johnson and her conversion to the pro-life cause.
The documentary makes a clear and explicit connection between abortion and sex trafficking, notes Walkenstein. Abortion serves as a vessel to fuel demand for sex trafficking, and allows girls trafficked for sex to be used over and over.
“They stole my purity, my childhood; the joy you’re supposed to have as a child,” one victim from the film, Edie, is quoted as saying. “There were lots of opportunities for people to see, but they looked the other way.”
There are around 4.8 million people who are being sexually exploited worldwide. More than one million of these are kids, according to the International Labour Organization. Also, the average age a child when they first become a victim of sex trafficking is between 12-14 and 84 per cent of those in sex slavery were sexually abused as children. (U.S. Department of Justice).
The documentary is a project that took six years to make. Despite the darkness that it portrays, it does offer hope in revealing the infinite love and power of Christ, noted Walkenstein, which is pivotal in bringing healing to all of the victims.
Jason Evert of The Chastity Project called the film “a powerful, heart-wrenching, and reverent exposé of the scourge of human trafficking in America. While showing the prevalence and depravity of the industry, it reminds viewers that hope is stronger than darkness.”