Sex Trafficking in Little Rock
RECAP OF FILMING “IN PLAIN SIGHT” DOCUMENTARY
From January 23rd-26th, our team was in Little Rock, Arkansas, to film a portion of the IN PLAIN SIGHT documentary on sex trafficking in the United States. Thanks to our friends at Abolition International, we were able to connect with P.A.T.H (Partners Against Trafficking Humans) – an aftercare home for survivors of sex trafficking in an undisclosed location.
Doc Holladay – Sheriff, Pulaski County, Arkansas
Sheriff Holladay is the elected official who oversees all aspects of law enforcement in Pulaski County (which includes Little Rock). Not only is he in charge of the Sheriff’s Department, but he oversees the operation of the Pulaski County jail which houses over 1,200 inmates at a time. Having been in law enforcement his entire life and now as Sheriff for the last eight years, he has a firm grasp on the issue of sex trafficking in the area. His transparent conversation about how law enforcement has made a shift from seeing someone as a prostitute to a possible victim was insightful and encouraging.
Tour of the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility
After interviewing Sheriff Holladay, he was gracious enough to give us a lengthy tour of the Pulaski County jail (technically the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility), which is the only long-term detention facility in Pulaski County. It supports twelve law enforcement agencies and thirty-three state and local courts.
To say that this tour was eye-opening would be an extreme understatement. We watched individuals come in from being arrested, watched them getting booked, and walked through the process of intake. We were given the opportunity to view the command center where all cameras are monitored, and we walked into a cell block where 80 inmates are housed with one guard on watch. Our conversations with Lieutenant Briggs and officers Garcia and Hazel were incredibly enlightening, and we greatly appreciated their willingness to give us a tour.
Stephanie and the “Church Ladies”
On Friday afternoon and evening, we spent time with a group of self-described “church ladies” who visit locations in Little Rock where women are involved in the sex industry. Over many months, they’ve developed relationships with managers who allow them to come into these facilities to connect with the staff and pray for them, and they always bring bags of toiletries, granola bars, and other fun personal items that the women enjoy. Their purpose is to develop long-term relationships with the women so that they have a place to turn to – if and when they’re ready to transition out.
Louise Allison – Founder, P.A.T.H. (Partners Against Trafficking Humans)
Located in an undisclosed location in Little Rock, Arkansas, PATH opened in the Fall of 2012, and the facility is absolutely amazing. (Some aftercare homes are hidden for the sake of the safety of the survivors who may be tracked down by their former pimp/trafficker.) I wish you could see photos of the exterior and interior of this space, because we were blown away by how beautiful it is.
Having been trafficked herself as a teenager, Louise has a powerful story of recovery which has fueled the launch of PATH several years ago – ultimately opening up an aftercare home. Like the other homes we’ve profiled, PATH is licensed by the state to care for survivors of sex trafficking, and they take a holistic approach to the recovery and healing of each individual. (Listen to this full interview online.)
Barbara – Survivor of Sex Trafficking
We had the opportunity to interview Barbara who lives at PATH and considers Louise the mother she never had. Because Barbara is slightly developmentally delayed, many people have taken advantage of her along the road of life. Her story includes moving from foster home to foster home – eventually to be adopted – and then given back by her adoptive parents. Although Barbara’s life has included enormous amounts of abuse and pain, she is now finding healing and transformation at PATH. In fact, she wants to help other women who have been in her same situation, and she looks forward to continuing to work with PATH in the future.
Latonja – Survivor of Sex Trafficking
Having grown up in an abusive household, Latonja continued to experience abuse in relationships as an adult. In her early 30’s, she moved in with a boyfriend, and he began drugging her food – causing her to pass out on numerous occasions. At one point, she woke up with a stranger on top of her, and she had no feeling in her body even though she knew something was happening. The extreme physical abuse led to her being prostituted and even recruiting other women to prostitute for her own financial gain. As the interview progressed, Latonja’s tears shifted from tears of pain to tears of joy as she described the safety and security that she now has at PATH. Latonja is a strong woman of faith who has huge dreams for her future.
Sgt. Allen Hamby – Supervisor of Vice Division, Little Rock Police Department
We interview Sgt. Hamby while he drove us throughout Little Rock – showing us areas of the city that attract sex trafficking activities. It was astonishing to hear him name women as we drove by them walking along the street. While most women who are trafficked by pimps are sold online via Backpage and other websites, many of the women who walk the streets are prostituting themselves to support a drug habit.
B-roll Footage of Little Rock
In every city we visit, we set aside at least half a day to capture footage of the area. We film anything and everything that will help us tell the story of what’s happening in that geographical area.
Not only did we tour numerous neighborhoods, parks, downtown areas, and historic sites, but we had the opportunity to visit Pinnacle Mountain State Park where we captured the beautiful sites of the Arkansas landscape.
HELP US TAKE OUR NEXT STEP
We feel so privileged to get to know passionate leaders and survivors of sex trafficking, but we are still in the process of funding the IN PLAIN SIGHT campaign (film, album, book). To date, we’ve raised over $45,000, and we’re still in need of $25,000 to fully fund the documentary. There are two ways to make a tax-deductible donation:
1. Give by check to:
233 16th Place #F
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
2. Give via credit card or PayPal.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact David Trotter (Co-Executive Producer) at 949.335.2925 or firstname.lastname@example.org.