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,
“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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