SARASOTA, Fla., April 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Never before in history has April's Child Abuse Prevention Month had more meaning as millions of children around the US are at heightened risk of abuse, neglect, exploitation and human trafficking recruitment amidst containment at home because of COVID-19 threat and through use of the internet.
A groundbreaking series of highly creative multimedia public service announcements (PSA's) called "Once Upon a Crime" launched today will target young Americans and raise awareness of the signs of sex trafficking. The PSA series debuts thanks to the combined efforts of a consortium of organizations and businesses lead by The Selah Way Foundation - a national network of leading anti-sex trafficking service providers dedicated to eradicating this issue. Launched out of the success of Selah Freedom, The Selah Way Foundation creates a solid system of care for survivors of sex trafficking through three initiatives: Prevention, Protection and Provision.
"Once Upon a Crime" is the creative genius of New York City-based Seiden Advertising that volunteered their time to create a series of multimedia storybooks that, while they read like your normal fairy tale, instead reveal a dark reality: A retelling of how Romeos manipulate many girls by preying on their desires and insecurities. Just as these girls are initially promised a fairy tale, each book begins by doing the same to the reader - telling the tale through a lyrical child-like rhyme. What starts innocently enough, soon reveals the brutal and grim twist these girls experience. Once Upon a Crime is adapted as a :30 and 1-minute TV ads as well as :30 and 1-minute radio ads. The TV adaptation of "Once Upon a Crime" was produced by Dreambear – a contemporary production company and animation studio based in Brooklyn, New York.
News reports warn that COVID-19 has left many children and young adults more vulnerable to violence and psychosocial distress. At the same time, measures are needed to address vulnerabilities of women and girls who are at-risk of sexual exploitation and abuse. "Sexual exploitation and trafficking are happening to American children in our own backyard. This is not a fairytale," says Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good, Co-Founder and CEO of Selah Freedom and The Selah Way Foundation. "Once Upon a Crime is an out of the box, creative effort to reframe the way Americans think about sex trafficking by highlighting the ubiquity of it in their own lives." Fisher Good is the recent author of the book, Groomed, published by Harper Collins, that draws from her experiences of working with thousands of young women who were sexually abused in childhood, including her own personal story. Over the past ten years, she and her organization have brought freedom to thousands of American children and awakened generations to the realities of sex trafficking and abuse hiding in plain sight. She speaks and trains internationally, educating millions, and tirelessly advocates for legislation and solutions to bring light into the darkness.
"1 out of 10 young lives are sexually abused in America typically by someone they know and should be able to trust. Selah Freedom and The Selah Way Foundation have learned through our experience working with girls, this is a vehicle leading to the recruitment in the sex trade in America. Now, with the country being quarantined, the crisis is at a breaking point and we hope these series of PSA's will prevent sexual exploitation and raise awareness nationally of this second pandemic, child abuse and sex trafficking," Fisher Good concludes.
Dr. Susan Small-Weil, psychologist and co-founder of Seiden Advertising adds, "We applaud the efforts of The Selah Way Foundation and are grateful to be able to partner with them. Sadly, a large part of the sex trafficking industry involves the abuse of young girls. Our idea was to approach this issue by using a series of fairytale rhymes reflecting the "Cinderella Stories" all girls grow up hearing. Our goal is to create broad awareness to ensure that everyone - including young girls who are potential victims - are educated on this issue."
The Selah Way Foundation creates a solid system of care for survivors of sex trafficking through three initiatives:
Prevention: Educating and empowering children and interveners through customized, cutting edge curriculum so that they can recognize the signs of exploitation and discover the power of their own voice to speak up against abuse. In collaboration with Selah Freedom, we also provide a national training arm to help other organizations learn how too successfully and sustainable operate residential programming for survivors, as well as outreach, prevention and awareness.
Protection: Training first responders and medical professionals on the front lines to recognize at-risk children and exploited young adults. Teaching how to act against predators and serve and protect innocent victims.
Provision: Our Provision Initiative operates as a universal training arm which gathers best practices in serving this population and invests these tools into organizations to help them grow and become sustainable. By partnering with the leading model for safe housing for survivors of sex trafficking, we are able to harness the most effective and successful methods and provide a scalable mentorship training program for organizations seeking to launch their own residential program and offer an array of holistic services.
For more information about the PSA campaign, visit www.onceuponacrime.org. Anyone who suspects signs of sex trafficking and victims in need of help can call our intake # at: 1-888-8-FREE-ME (888-837-3363) or visit http://www.TheSelahWay.org.
Selah Freedom is the nation's largest anti-sex trafficking service organization with the mission of ending sex trafficking and to bring freedom to the exploited through their four strong programs: Awareness, Prevention, Outreach and Residential. Selah Freedom actively confronts the issue of sex trafficking and is being upheld as the model for how to effectively bring solutions to survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation. Visit www.selahfreedom.com
The Once Upon A Crime public service announcement series is bringing light to the dangerous ways two million children each year are sold for sex. The storybook series - as seen on TV, in print, social media and radio – is a series of multimedia fairytales that, while they read like your normal fairy tale, instead reveal a dark reality: A retelling of how sex traffickers or "Romeos" manipulate many girls by preying on their desires and insecurities. Just as these girls are initially promised a fairy tale, each book begins by doing the same to the reader - telling the tale through a lyrical child-like rhyme. What starts innocently enough, soon reveals the brutal and grim twist these girls experience.
The PSA series will be shown on local, regional and national broadcast and cable stations throughout America, and in digital and print publications, with a strong social media push. With your help, we can end stories like these and rewrite the future for future generations. For more information visit: www.OnceUponaCrime.org.
Media Contact: Andrea Martone, [email protected], (917) 929 -0527
SOURCE The Selah Way Foundation