BYU’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is working with Operation Underground Railroad to offer a free on-campus showing of “The Abolitionists,” a documentary about the fight against child sex trafficking.
The movie will be shown on Thursday, Nov. 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Wilkinson Center Ballroom.
“It’s an excellent film,” said Brontë Stevens, a member of the Service Committee of PRSSA. “I can promise you’ll feel inspired. You’ll feel inspired that there is still goodness in the world today, good people fighting sick and twisted ones.”
The film was released in May and has already been shown several times at BYU through the Anti-Human Trafficking Club. The club’s community director Danica Baird said every showing has had a full crowd, and every semester students ask the club to show the film again.
Baird also said the film has been changed since its last showing at BYU. Some scenes have been taken out and new ones have been put in, she said, so it is significantly different from how it was before.
Lindsey Trendler, a member of PRSSA’s professional development committee, said the event is a good opportunity to learn more about child trafficking, especially in Utah. Utah has one of the highest rates of child sex abuse in the country. In July 2016, 71 people were arrested in an anti-human trafficking operation. Many of the operation’s victims were children.
The event will also provide fundraising products, opportunities to donate to Operation Underground Railroad, and information on stopping child sex trafficking. Provo City police chief John King will discuss human trafficking after the movie ends, including what BYU students can do to stop it.
One major theme from “The Abolitionists” is anyone can help change the problem. Ashley Frost, PRSSA campus and community service president, said the film is “proof that just one student, parent or teenager can really make a difference.”
Baird said the film almost brought her to tears the first time she watched it.
“You see people in horrible situations that a lot of people can’t even imagine exist anymore,” Baird said. “But slavery still happens today.”
Baird said the movie portrays a sad reality, but the documentary’s overall message is that there are many things people can do to help. The movie has a call to action, she said, and all talents can be used to help fight human trafficking.
Stevens said attending the event is a great way to fulfill BYU’s motto, “Go Forth to Serve.”
“When we graduate I hope we’ll look back and see the good we’ve done as students,” Stevens said. “God has given us the opportunity to serve as his hands on earth, and this is one way we can do that.”