In 2013, the Polaris Project reported that it received 3,609 sex trafficking cases inside the United States. Globally, the International Labor Organization estimates there are 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation.
Blake Lively, Ashley Judd and Mia Farrow were among a handful of celebrities who participated in this new documentary called A Path Appears, which aims to shine a light on some of these issues. They are joined by reporters Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn who, "travel[ed] around the world exploring the effects of gender inequality and poverty, and [met] with the people determined to change the status quo."
Lively opened up in the documentary about her involvement with My Life My Choice, an organization that is trying to end the sexual exploitation of children.
The new mother of a little girl said, "I have a new perspective of what it means to have your body sold in this country. Not everybody is free. I see how much more opportunity people need."
Judd knew there were issues in her very own neighborhood and looked no further than her own backyard to try to help. She said, "Sex trafficking is happening 30 minutes from where I'm sitting right now, in Williamson County, Tennessee, and in Davidson County, Tennessee. There's something emotionally inescapable about confronting the problem here in my own county."
Judd's involvement was with an organization called the Magdalene Program, which is a program for survivors of sexual slavery.
She continued, saying, "I felt a lot of joy seeing the women in the program but also a lot of righteous anger. It was a privilege to be invited into the girls' and women's lives."
Farrow took her cause outside the United States to advocate for education and school opportunities for girls in Kenya. Other celebrities involved in the film include Jennifer Garner, Regina Hall, Eva Longoria and Alfre Woodard.
Kristof sounds off perfectly, saying, "We don't have the moral authority to tell other countries to clean up their act unless we make some efforts to address the violence and inequity right here in the United States."
A Path Appears will air in a three-part series on PBS on Jan. 26, Feb. 2 and Feb. 9., at 10/9c.
Check out this exclusive clip over at People magazine.
Here is the official trailer for the series:
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