Michigan State University
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Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
Department of Writing
Rhetoric & American Cultures

MSU Community Invited to Free Screening of Documentary Exploring Sex Trafficking and Survival

Written by Jessica Kukla

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Spanish director and journalist Chelo Alvarez­-Stehle and sex trafficking survivor Virginia Isaias will visit MSU to screen their film SANDS OF SILENCE: Waves of Courage on Monday, March 26, 2018 from 7-9pm in the Green Room of the Main Library, 366 West Circle Drive. The event is free and open to the public.

SANDS OF SILENCE features world­-reporter and filmmaker Alvarez­-Stehle’s 15-­year journey to expose sexual trafficking and exploitation across various continents. Her quest eventually leads Alvarez­-Stehle back to the Spanish beach where an encounter forever changed her childhood and her family. As she documents the transformation of sex trafficking survivors, she meets Virginia Isaias, a Mexican woman who spent much of her life as a victim of sexual abuse and was a sex trafficking victim. Escaping with her six-month-old daughter from a sex trafficking ring in Mexico, Isaias crosses the U.S. border in search of freedom, building a new life advocating for women in the sex trafficking cycle.

After the screening, Alvarez­-Stehle and Isaias will be joined by assistant professor Alexandra Hidalgo to discuss not only the film, but the worldwide issue of sex trafficking in an audience Q&A Session.

We are honored to be able to bring Alvarez-Stehle and Isaias to MSU. As a reporter and documentary filmmaker, Alvarez-Stehle has worked for close to two decades exposing stories of sexual exploitation and trafficking. Isaias’s activist work is far reaching and has changed many women’s lives. SANDS OF SILENCE is especially relevant in an era of the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, bringing light to decades of abuse and sexual assault on women. “In spite of the different backgrounds, the same familial dynamic occurred when Virginia or I tried to speak up about abuse” Alvarez-Stehle says. “This resonates with audiences in an intimate way, inspiring them to find the courage to break their own silence on sexual exploitation and moving them to take action at a societal level.”

The screening is sponsored by: The Doc Lab, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, College of Arts and Letters, Chicano and Latino Studies, Film Studies Program, Department of Media and Information, Department of Sociology, The Hub, Matrix, and the College of Music.