This week, STOP THE TRAFFIK would like to extend a warm HUGE thank you to the amazing, fantastic and inspirational Red River Theatre group run by Nigel Roberts based in Hinckley, Leicester.
Directed by Mr. Roberts, a number of budding actors and actresses produced a film called STRANDED. This thought provoking drama highlighted different challenges facing three teenage girls.
The stories which revolved around bullying, family abuse and trafficking intertwined as the girls shared their experiences after finding themselves washed up in childhood wasteland – a space where robbed youth is lost and found.
I was fortunate enough to sit with three of the young stars and asked them about their experiences.
Monika, played by Cassie Shilladay is a normal girl who falls for a nice boy with a nasty brother. She was eventually tricked by the promise of a modeling career and trafficked overseas.
“I didn’t know much about trafficking’ said Cassie ‘it was incredible to learn how big the problem was and that Britain is involved. It really bought home that it [trafficking] happened to people our age”
I asked whether it was hard playing such challenging roles by day and then slotting into normal mode at night.
“It was definitely a challenge to get in the role of being bullied” replied Sophie Wightman Who played Abi – the bullied ‘new girl’ at school. “It was alright during filming – it was when you got home that it hit and touched you”.
Zoe Grain who played Lisa – a girl abused by her father, very honestly admitted “it was a totally different mindset; I was almost scared to play it”.
The emotional and psychological journey the entire cast went on must have been demanding but the final production was incredibly touching and something everyone involved in the project should feel immensely proud of.
As a result of their hard work and with the support of Mr. Roberts, the Red River theatre group have toured local schools with assemblies, Zoe has given presentations focusing on trafficking into the cocoa industry , their first production ‘Girl in the Photograph’ has been viewed over 16,000 times and Stranded was downloaded at a rate of 40 a day.
In addition to these awareness raising successes, as a result of the film one audience member made a donation to the youth group who then presented a cheque for over £1000 to STOP THE TRAFFIK. This money is vital for us to continue our projects and directly adds to the fight against the horrific crime of people trafficking.
As Mr. Roberts said ‘a life can be transformed by experiencing someone else’s”