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Presentation To Examine Reality Of Houston ‘Industry’

Feb. 11, 2013
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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The CantineraWhen Student Health Center programming coordinator Lisa Clarkson read an article in the Spring Observer on the documentary “The Cantinera,” she was personally touched.

The documentary, which was filmed in Houston’s FM 1960 area, sheds light on sex trafficking and its difficulty in regulating under existing laws.

“I was horrified when I read an article about the sex trafficking problem in Houston and, more specifically, that it was happening just down the road from where I grew up,” she said. “I cannot stand abuse of any kind, and I became angry that there are people out there who will use others for their own financial gain, greed or sadistic satisfaction.”

To help others understand the significance of the issue, the Student Health Center will welcome Ruth Villatoro, producer of the documentary, and Dottie Laster, a victim advocate, to the Sam Houston State University campus on Feb. 20, to discuss some of the issues related to the scene set by that film. The film screening and discussion will be from 5-7 p.m. that day in the Criminal Justice Center’s Killinger Auditorium.

“The Cantinera” tells the story of a woman who was forced by her mother to drink with men in Latin bars when she was 13 years old. Twenty-three years later, she is still drinking 30 beers a night, five nights a week but longs for sobriety and a second chance.

The statistics of sex trafficking are staggering, but also hard to accurately pinpoint because many victims don’t come forward out of fear of retribution.

The most cited statistics on trafficking, from the U.S. State Department in 2005, show that 600,000-800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year, with 14,500-17,500 trafficked into the U.S. The report does not provide data on sexual exploitation specifically; the numbers include people trafficked for any sort of forced labor, according to a PBS Frontline article.

“I invited the speakers from the documentary to visit SHSU because our campus community is so action-oriented,” Clarkson said. “I want the students to realize how big the problem of sex trafficking is and how close to home it is. I want our community to know that the victims are real human beings who don't wish to be used in such ways.

“SHSU has an amazing criminal justice program, and those CJ students will be on the front lines fighting to help stop sex trafficking,” she said. “We, as a world, will never know peace until we stop subjecting innocent people to such unspeakable horrors. Abuse will perpetuate in a never-ending cycle if we don't do something about it.”

The film’s runtime is 67 minutes.

For more information, contact Clarkson at 936.294.4347 or ldc010@shsu.edu or visit cantineradocumentary.com.



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