Learn About Human Trafficking At Awareness Event Today, March 30

Saturday, 30 Mar 2013, 6:00:00 AM

Mitch James

For almost 28 years Maria Suarez was held against her will.
Courtesy Photo
For almost 28 years Maria Suarez was held against her will.

Maria Suarez, the survivor of the earliest reported case

of modern-day human trafficking in the United States, will speak at a free human

trafficking awareness event today, March 30.

Soka Gakkai International-USA’s (SGI-USA) Culture of

Peace Resource Center in Santa Monica, in collaboration with the U.S. Fund for

UNICEF, will host a screening of the documentary film, “Not My Life,” which is

narrated by Glenn Close.

The event will take place at 4 pm at the SGI-USA Culture

of Peace Resource Center (606 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica CA 90401).

Suarez will take part in an expert panel discussion

following the screening.

“I want to use my personal experience to alert others

and to help them avoid the same hole I fell into,” Suarez said. “I used to

blame myself for what happened to me, but now I advocate for prevention and

encourage others to talk and look for help.”

The panel will be moderated by Lesford Duncan who is a

Global Citizenship Fellow at U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

“The panel discussion will shed light on human

trafficking both in the United States and abroad and provide attendees with

ways to take action to help end this horrific practice,” said Duncan.

“Not My Life” is the first documentary film to depict

the practices of human trafficking and modern slavery on a global scale.

Filmed on five continents over a period of four years,

“Not My Life” unflinchingly, but with enormous dignity and compassion, depicts

the unspeakable practices of a multi-billion dollar global industry whose

profits, as the film’s narration says, “are built on the backs and in the beds

of our planet’s youth.”

Joining Suarez on the panel will be renowned advocate

and recent administrator to the Orange County Human Trafficking Taskforce,

Sandie Morgan.

“When we begin to understand our role in driving demand

for child trafficking, we will confront our own responsibility and begin the

serious task of ensuring justice for children exploited in our own

neighborhoods or across the globe,” Morgan said.

The Culture of Peace Resource Center in Santa Monica is

one of six centers in the United States opened by Soka Gakkai International-USA

with the support of former United Nations Under-Secretary-General Ambassador

Anwarul K. Chowdhury.

Free parking is available in the SGI-USA parking

structure on 6th Street between Wilshire Boulevard and Arizona Avenue.

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