Vicki Zito, whose daughter was a sex-trafficking victim, talks with the French film crew that came to El Dorado Hills last month. Photo courtesy of RJ Ruby Productions

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Parisian film crew documents local fight against sex trafficking

On Valentine’s Day a French film crew from CANAL+ in Paris came to El Dorado Hills to document the profound impact Run For Courage is having on community awareness and education concerning sex trafficking.

Executive Director Ashlie Bryant and Director of Beneficiary Programs Vicki Zito met with the crew to tell the Run For Courage story. Zito also shared her own personal story of how her daughter had gone to the store with friends, was abducted and then trafficked for sex for eight days between Rocklin and Fremont. The abduction, having taken place in front of a Safeway supermarket in an upscale El Dorado Hills shopping complex, proved that this can truly happen anywhere. (Visit A Mother’s Story to watch the Run For Courage video for more on this story here:”

The CANAL+ news crew visited the shopping complex where Zito’s teenaged daughter was taken. Afterward, Bryant and Zito led the crew to Oak Ridge High School where more than an hour of a fourth-period health class was set aside for the two women to educate students on human trafficking. Concerned teens were clearly engaged and posed dozens of questions like, “Why can’t we find more of these victims?” and “Are there harsher penalties for perpetrators?”

While such questions can have complicated answers, Zito and Bryant equipped the students with practical tools to take action against trafficking:
1) Enter the National Trafficking Hotline into your cell phones, 1-888-3737-888. Feel free to call if you see anything suspicious, and know that you will remain anonymous.
2) Communicate with your family and make sure they always know where you are, as difficult as that may be at times. This point cannot be stressed enough. Staying in touch is incredibly vital.
3) Be aware of red flags for trafficked victims. Students were given details on what to look for in their own community.
4) Each individual is valuable. Respect and esteem one another regularly. Priceless social values can minimize the amount of at-risk kids in your community.

The 10-minute documentary program featuring the work of Run For Courage, along with other organizations in this Californian movement to combat human trafficking, will air in France as part of “The Butterfly Effect” on CANAL+ in English with French Subtitles soon.

Run For Courage Inc., a non-profit established to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking, stages and organizes large-scale events such as 5 and 10K races and educates our youth in schools. RFC donates funds raised from their events to beneficiaries that undergo a rigorous and continual screening process. RFC employs Evaluate-Donate-Monitor methodology to determine which programs most efficiently work toward victim restoration.

Special to Village Life


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