Jeanne Allert, founder of The Samaritan Women, is a modern-day abolitionist featured in the upcoming documentary “In Plain Sight: Stories of Hope and Freedom,” where she shares critical steps for healing of those who have been victims of human trafficking in the United States.
Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar global industry where victims are forced or coerced into labor or commercial sex. Each year, an estimated 100,000 children and thousands more women are sold for sex in the United States. The average age of those exploited into the sex trade is just 12-14 years old. Traffickers frequently target victims and then use violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage or other forms of control and manipulation to keep victims enslaved in the sex industry for their own profit.
In the documentary, Allert shares the steps she has developed for helping survivors. They include mitigating or reducing any threats, so the survivor can focus on healing; helping survivors work through psychological and emotional issues related to their experience; helping them form new, healthy relationships; and discovering what makes them unique, so they can develop an environment where they will flourish.
The film, which also is complemented by a music album and a “31 Day Devotional & Group Study Guide,” will be available in book stores and online Dec. 23. “Human Trafficking Prevention Month” in January is an opportunity to raise awareness about its victims. Organizers hope churches, civic groups and other organizations and individuals will host up to 100 screenings around the country that month.
Allert was a successful businesswoman when, in 2007, her heart was broken upon meeting Heather, a young girl trapped in sex trafficking. Two months after her encounter, Allert sold her business and purchased a 23-acre estate in Baltimore City that she turned into a residential home for women who have been trafficked.
“I hope the documentary serves as a complementary and perhaps contrasting message to the Hollywood– interpretations of this problem,” Allert said. “The film is really a testimony of hope, and encourages us to face the really challenging battles ahead, knowing that there truly can be healing and restoration.”
“In Plain Sight” aims to educate the American public and encourage people to take action. Produced and narrated by Christian recording artist Natalie Grant, the documentary features modern-day abolitionists from across the country and includes interviews with trafficking survivors, law enforcement and court officials and those dedicated to helping survivors.
The Samaritan Women is currently the only organization of its kind in the mid-Atlantic region and takes referrals from across the U.S. The Samaritan Women will be opening a second facility in early 2015.
Additional information about The Samaritan Women is available at www.thesamaritanwomen.org.