HOW IT HAPPENED
I think I have a knack for subjects that may be incredibly difficult to address or are often misrepresented, and I enjoy the challenge that is using film as a vessel for creating appropriate public discourse. As I began to think about what my next documentary could be in 2014, I started seeing bits and pieces of “human trafficking” related information popping up in my news stream. I was honestly confused at first because I thought this was an issue to be discussed regarding other countries such as India, but the articles were talking about trafficking occurring in Lansing, MI. Reflecting on everything I had ever learned through our current streams of information, I realized I had never seen a film really showcasing Human Trafficking on a local US level and that I really had no clue what human trafficking was myself. This may sound bizarre, but I could just sense that the same misconceptions surrounding the topic of sexual assault extended to human trafficking as well and I really wanted to learn more about the issue. I don’t think I ever went back to the drawing board to hash out other possibilities for a documentary, I just zoned in on this.
Of course, when researching this issue within Michigan the first name I came across was Jane White – the director of the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force. I reached out to set up a meeting with her about the possibility of collaborating on a film, and shortly after that email I was sitting across from her at Hobies in East Lansing eating cheetos. We spent two or three hours at that place and I learned all about the incredibly complex and exploited issue of human trafficking within our world. I also learned about how difficult it is for many organizations and survivors to trust filmmakers and the media with this topic because so many often misrepresent the issue and do more harm than good. That’s when the overall idea for Break the Chain really started to settle in my mind – a documentary that tries its best to accurately spread awareness for the issue of human trafficking, to break the real chain.
- Attend the film premiere of Break the Chain in Okemos, Michigan on May 10, 2016 or donate to offset the production costs of the film. Promote the film to others and plan to use it in your own awareness and advocacy work.
Laura Swanson is a documentary film director and is Co-Director of the Documentary, Break the Chain.