BARAGA – May is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s month. Tomorrow evening on Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College’s campus the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and the Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force will show the film Ring of Silence. The movie depicts the story of Michigan high school teens who became victims of sextortion. The film is rated PG-13 and delves into sensitive topics, so parents should be cautious if bringing your child to the screening.
So this movie talks about the relationships between the internet, going to an event or going to a party. How that sexual assault was intentionally recorded. And then these teens were, what’s called, sextorted, or sextortion, This is not only happening, you know, across the nation. But as we know it’s already happened in our community here. – Stephanie Graef, President of the Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force
Stephanie Graef from UPHTTF and Carole Lapointe from KBIC worked to bring the film and a panel of experts to speak with the audience after the film. The panel is made up of those with experience investigating cases of missing and murdered indigenous women.
“This is sponsored by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, so, you know, we really wanted to incorporate those types of experts. So we have a Tribal Vicitms Advocate Specialistfrom the Department of Justice. We also do have special agents, that do these investigations, form the Federal Bureau of Investigation attending. Than we have engaged with Baraga High School and L’Anse High School. Their leadership and their At Risk Specialists will also be on the panel.” – Stephanie Graef, President of the Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force
Attendees can ask questions, and hear from local experts who work with the FBI, MSP, KBIC’s Chief of Police, a tribal attorney and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Coordinator, as well as Baraga and L’Anse high school principles. Ring of Silence will be screened Niiwin Akeea Gymnasium. The event is free to the public and doors open at 5 pm., with the film starting at 6 pm.
The screening of Ring of Silence is used as a catalyst for parents and kids to start a difficult conversation around human trafficking, and being safe on the internet. By going to the screening and hearing from experts, attendees will gain the tools to start those conversations and keep them going. One of the biggest hurdles for parents and kids can be getting comfortable with uncomfortable conversations. And that’s why KBIC and the UPHTTF hope to see residents from not only the tribal community, but anyone that is willing to listen and learn more about the topic of sextortion and human trafficking.
If you or someone you know has become a victim of sextortion, or human trafficking please contact the Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force to learn how to help and where local resources are. To reach the agency call or text their victim hotline at 906 299 9243. or visit their website to learn more about signs to look out for.