On Wednesday, The Seattle Times editorial section hosted a Google+ on-air Hangout with “The Long Night” filmmaker Tim Matsui and experts on the front line of the local battle to end child sex trafficking. For some background on the film, which streams free this week, read my Monday blog post and take a look at my recent column on the topic.
You can view the 43-minute video chat above.
Here’s the list of panelists who joined us: (Note: State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles did not appear in the hangout due to illness.)
Tim Matsui, a Seattle-based multimedia journalist and director of “The Long Night.” He spent one year between the fall of 2012 and fall 2013 shooting video for the film, which includes the harrowing stories of two teen girls and local law-enforcement officials’ efforts to crack down on the commercial exploitation of minors. The film was featured Monday in The New York Times’ Lens blog. On that same day, Matsui was also interviewed on KUOW.
Noel Gomez, a co-founder of the Organization for Prostitution Survivors. Gomez worked in prostitution for nearly 15 years before she left the life nine years ago. She has since become an advocate dedicated to helping sexually exploited youth and women access resources and leave prostituion, if that is their choice. Read the testimonial she delivered before a congressional field hearing earlier this year on sex trafficking.
Val Richey, a senior deputy prosecutor with King County. Richey handles most of the county’s felony prostitution-related cases and recently joined with a team of local officials and community organizations to kick off the “Buyer Beware” program to reduce demand. Read more about that effort in this Oct. 15 Seattle Times news report by Sara Jean Green.
State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, a Democratic legislator representing Seattle. Kohl-Welles is the Legislature’s leading voice on policy related to combating sex trafficking. Washington was the first state in the nation to pass anti-human trafficking laws. Read the Democratic caucus’ round-up of bills that passed last session.
Robert Beiser, the executive director of Seattle Against Slavery (SAS). After several years at Microsoft, he left the tech world to work in the non-profit sector as a social justice advocate. Beiser began working on the issue of human trafficking in 2007. His work with SAS began in 2010 as the Public Awareness Campaigns Manager, and he has been executive director since 2012. Beiser is co-chair of the Demand Reduction subcommittee for the Washington Statewide Coordinating Committee on Trafficking.
Mar Smith Brettman, founder of Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), a non-profit organization that aligns and equips leaders to use the power of business to prevent human trafficking. For ten years, Mar worked as a professor at universities in the U.S., Malaysia, and the West Indies, where she taught courses in philosophy, ethics, and religion and published peer-reviewed articles and essays on human rights topics. In her research, she found herself increasingly concerned about the brutal exploitation of children, women, and impoverished laborers that takes place through human trafficking.