By Lisa Goldblatt Grace, LICSW, MPH, Director and Co-Founder, My Life My Choice
This is an incredibly exciting time at My Life My Choice and in the movement to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children. My Life My Choice and the often unspoken epidemic of sex trafficking are featured in a new documentary airing on PBS next week. As a follow up to the powerful documentary series Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, the new film, A Path Appears, follows reporters Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and actor/advocates to Colombia, Haiti, Kenya, and throughout the United States as they uncover the harshest forms of gender-based oppression and human rights violations, as well as the effective solutions being implemented to combat them.
In the fall of 2013, I received an email from the team at A Path Appears. I of course knew of Nicholas Kristof's work to expose trafficking, and was incredibly impressed with his previous film, Half the Sky. So when the request came for My Life My Choice to be a part of their newest film, it was an unequivocal…NO. My instincts and those of the staff at My Life My Choice are to always protect our girls and never exploit them further. But the more we talked about the project, I couldn't fight this new feeling emerging that this is the time to get the story out, and that these are the right people to do it. We put our trust in the A Path Appears team to not sensationalize our girls and their stories, and to not further exploit them.
The survivors and families that chose to participate in the documentary and share their stories and a moment in time of their lives all did so because they never want another girl to be exploited. I am in awe of their strength and resilience, all of which shine through in the film.
A Path Appears looks to highlight solutions to major problems impacting women and girls. We were honored to be chosen in regard to our work with exploited minors. The portion of the film featuring My Life My Choice shows Nicholas Kristof and actress, Blake Lively following several of our staff who are survivors of, and experts on, commercial sexual exploitation as they meet with girls in our Mentoring and Prevention programs, as well as with families of the girls. I don’t want to give too much away, but what occurred in that January week they spent with us in Boston will not soon be forgotten.
On January 21st, Nicholas Kristoff and the film’s Director, Maro Chermayeff came back to Boston and joined My Life My Choice, Demand Abolition, and more than 200 guests for a sneak preview screening of the Boston footage at the WGBH studios in Brighton. Our single section proved powerful and emotional; leaving everyone in the room, including myself anxiously awaiting the premiere of the documentary on Monday, January 26th.
I hope you watch: be moved, empowered, outraged, and ready to help us take this movement into the public’s conscience.
A Path Appears, featuring My Life My Choice, will premiere on PBS on January 26th at 10PM and will be aired in several parts.
After January 26, you can watch it at http://video.pbs.org/video/2365387809/.