Newton Says No to Human Trafficking will be hosting a showing of the documentary “Gridshock” at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Capitol ll Theatre.
The documentary’s purpose is to shed light on human sex trafficking in Iowa by interviewing survivors and law enforcement as well as other people who may be involved with past cases.
“It’s basically a movie about not just the victims but the pimps and the people who pay for this service,” co-founder of Newton Says No to Human Trafficking Linda Pierce said. “It is very eye opening.”
The title of the movie, according to co-founder of Newton Says No to Human Trafficking Lynn Keller, refers to how the state of Iowa looks when you view all the counties in the state and how they look like a grid.
“Therefore the grid, shock because it is everywhere in Iowa,” Keller said.
Another thing Keller said she hopes people gain from the documentary is what human trafficking often looks like so people can be more aware it doesn’t look like what they might see in movies or on television or what they might think it is.
“A lot of people say, ‘Oh yeah I saw the movie “Taken” I know about human trafficking.’ That is not it at all,” Keller said. “It is more like traffickers can smell vulnerability in young people or anybody.”
The movie itself was directed by Vanessa McNeal who is a survivor of sexual violence. The crew raised $55,000 in 60 days to meet their funding goal to make to movie happen.
“She is very passionate about getting the word out and changing laws, making things happen,” Keller said. “She is very dynamic.”
Newton Says No to Human Trafficking was created in 2014 after the three co-founders in Pierce, Keller and now state representative Wes Breckenridge decided it would be beneficial to create a group centered around educating people on human trafficking.
“Basically the group is for education and awareness,” Keller said.
Like must organization, Newton Says No to Human Trafficking had its own goals to accomplish and one of them was educating youth on human trafficking. These efforts have been underway for three years.
“For the youth, that was our huge goal and we feel like we have kind of accomplished that ... We think that is where we can make the most difference,” Pierce said.
While most people may think Iowa might be exempt from having human trafficking issues, the state is just as prone to this crime compared to any other place in the United States. Newton Says No to Human Trafficking is trying to educate people on that fact.
“Iowa, particularly because of Interstate 80 and Interstate 35, traffickers are mobile with their victims,” Keller said. “Being right on I-80 makes us pretty vulnerable.”
Pierce added, “We just try to really get the word out on what to watch for and who to call.”
This education for people to be able to recognize and report potential cases is what makes the Newton group so important. The showing of “Gridshock” will help shed light on the human trafficking issues Iowans have in their own backyards and the damage it does to communities.
“It is never right to force someone to do something,” Pierce said.
The doors at Capitol ll Theatre will open at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The admission is free with it being sponsored by Koni Bunse of Advantage Realty. Director Vanessa McNeal will be present among others at the showing.
Contact Dustin Teays at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or firstname.lastname@example.org