On the evening of January 16, Downtown Flint was a whirlwind of activity as people gathered at the Capitol Theatre to see the world premiere of the long-anticipated film, “Ring of Silence.” It was a bitter cold evening, but Downtown restaurants were overflowing with moviegoers mingling and grabbing a bite to eat before the show.
Written, directed and produced by Nicole Bowers Wallace and filmed in Genesee County, “Ring of Silence” sheds light on the horrifying issue of human trafficking and is a film everyone should see. Many people may think that human trafficking only happens in inner cities, but this film shows that it may be happening to a young person in your own backyard and you don’t even know it.
Based on a true story, the film is about the sex trafficking of innocent teenagers. It is a story about April, a vulnerable teenage girl from a stable, suburban family who is searching for the feelings of love and acceptance in a relationship. She meets a young man on social media, Sean, who lures her away from the safety and security of her family and friends and betrays her into his seamy world of drugs and sex trafficking. April’s innocence has been robbed from her by the man she thought she loved and trusted. She was manipulated, beaten, drugged and sold.
April was one of the lucky ones, however. She was rescued by law enforcement and shared her powerful story of the unimaginable horrors she experienced with other teens and about how easily it could happen to them.
The Capitol Theatre was filled to capacity and many area teens were in attendance. For me, the film was disturbing and at times difficult to watch, but very informative. And many viewers, including myself, didn’t realize that this could be happening to kids who still live at home.
As I talked about the film with my daughter, Melissa, she shared something that had happened to her a few years ago. She was sitting at a traffic light in Grand Blanc Township when a car drove up right next to her. A man rolled down the window and yelled at her, “Your car is on fire! You need to pull over and get out of the car!” She looked around and didn’t see any smoke or flames, but she noticed that another man in a car had pulled up right behind her. She had a very bad feeling and drove away as fast as she could. When she stopped at a safe location and saw that her car was NOT on fire, she knew that she had been right to trust her instincts. My daughter still wonders today what might have happened if she had listened to the man and got out of her car.
This may not have been an attempt at human trafficking; but it very well could have. The truth is that human trafficking is an ugly reality and it is happening to people right here in Genesee County. If you see or hear anything that leads you to believe someone may be a victim, call the Human Trafficking Hotline: 888.373.7888. Trust your gut. You could save someone’s life.