The Ohio Youth Human Trafficking Video Contest awarded five Buckeye Valley High School students from the Global Scholars Program an Honorable Mention for their anti-human trafficking video “What to do if you see something.”
The group’s video illustrates an abductor in a crowded public place slipping drugs into a victim’s drink and then walking her out the front door unnoticed by customers and the viewer.
According to Stephie Choe, the group’s inspiration for the video came from the founder of Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution Teresa Flores’ presentation on human trafficking.
“Her story kind of impacted us a lot,” Choe said.
According to S.O.A.P.’s website, Flores founded the organization after being auctioned off to a group of men in an inner city Detroit motel.
It was in the last session that Flores told her story, junior Hanna Fenstermaker said.
“We all left just silent,” she said. “We just sat in the back of the bus saying we should do the video contest thing because it would be a good way to get involved.”
The group said Flores’ story had such impact that the group began to brainstorm video ideas on the bus ride home but they had heard about the contest late. It was also the week before finals at Buckeye Valley.
“We heard about the video contest like the week right before the deadline,” Alli Granger said. “The video-ing and the editing was like four or five hours total.”
“And the actual putting together,” chimed in Gabe King.
The group had originally planned to shoot the video in a park, but encountered rain the day of the shoot.
“So we went to a noodle shop,” King said.
The video’s location for the shoot was Noodles and Company in Powell. Some of the people got up and moved out of shot or just left while others stayed and became the extras in the background.
“People still sat there after we told them what we were doing,” Fenstermaker said. “We had to do it with a lot of other people there.”
“It was very embarrassing,” Granger said. “Because everyone around us were watching.”
However, King said having the people in the background talking lent a real feeling to the video.
“It kind of gave it the effect of a busy sex-trafficking place,” he said.
The group said they planned out the basic actions of the video, but there wasn’t a script.
“We improvised talking to each other,” Granger said. “Lots of improv, we were on a time budget.”
All five members of the group appeared and had lines in the video, except the victim, played by Selina Seliskar.
“I didn’t want to say any lines,” she said. “So I volunteered to be the victim.”
The group said making the video gave them a sense of pride because they were part of bringing awareness to the human trafficking issue.
Seliskar said she would do the video again in a “heartbeat” in the same place.
“I feel bad for making people move but at the same time the benefit of awareness came out of making the movie,” she said.
The film is titled “Buckeye Valley High School – 2017 S.O.A.P. for HOPE Youth Film Contest & Festival” can be seen on YouTube.
The Ohio Youth Human Trafficking Video Contest was funded by a grant from the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund and the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force. The contest yields prevention videos that will be distributed to Ohio schools, youth centers, agencies and organizations at no cost to the recipients.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.