Updated: Dec 30, 2018
Bridgeport Police, WV Senior Deputy Attorney General on Board
JCFilms was back in town this week to shoot scenes for another movie; this time switching gears to call attention to a very serious issue. Operating under the working title, “Not for Sale,” the new film features human trafficking awareness.
“This is such a big problem,” said Jason Campbell, JC Films co-owner and producer. “I think people realize it’s going on overseas, but not here in America. We’re hoping to do a social media launch for the promo trailer on Super Bowl Sunday which is the biggest sex trafficking day.
As does many of Campbell’s films, this one features actor Dean Cain, as well as JCFilms regulars Michael Siegler, Tim Goodwin, Gary Vincent and Katherine Shaw, among others.
In fact, when Cain was in town during October to shoot scenes for “A Promise to Astrid” and the premiere of “Megan’s Christmas Miracle,” wheels went into motion for “Not for Sale.”
“We shot a teaser with Dean and the Bridgeport Police,” Campbell said. “We also met with Senior Deputy Attorney General Bob Leslie and a couple national groups which deal with sex trafficking. We’re partnering with local and state groups to bring attention to this issue.”
Scenes were set to be filmed at various locations, including Walmart, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center and Meadowbrook Mall.
“We filmed a scene with a lady and her daughter at Walmart getting groceries. She’s carelessly loading up the car with groceries and when she comes back from returning the cart, her daughter is gone,” Campbell said. “We also filmed a scene at the mall Food Court and a home scene with an abduction, which was pretty intense.”
Campbell and Leslie began working together on sex trafficking awareness a few years ago when JC Films’ “Finding Faith” was shown at Leslie’s church.
“’Finding Faith’ is a Christian-based educational movie for parents and adolescents about dangers that can be lurking on the Internet and the different approaches predators take electronically to track down victims,” Leslie said. “There was a definite tie-in to human trafficking and it got me thinking. I definitely didn’t realize how much it existed. Living in my ivory tower, it never donned on me that this was a problem – that people were being preyed upon in this modern day.”
The movie opened the door for an ongoing relationship between Campbell and Leslie.
“We’ve since been communicating back and forth about what’s going on in West Virginia and the reality of it,” Campbell said.
West Virginia is the No. 1 state dealing with familial sex trafficking – which occurs when sexual favors of oneself and his or her children are offered in exchange of rent money, drugs, etc.
Leslie said it occurs more than one might think.
“What do you think happens in a family when one or both parents are so addicted to opioid narcotics that they would do anything to satisfy that habit,” he said. “I can’t talk about any ongoing criminal investigations, but we’ve seen a great uptick.”
In the past few years, much advocacy has been done about sex trafficking through the Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General’s office, through affiliations with various sex trafficking awareness organizations and by Leslie personally. It has become a great passion, he said, leading to the training of several thousand police officers and community members.
“By the end of January, we will have trained more than 4,000 people in the state of West Virginia to recognize and respond to human trafficking,” he said.
Abductions do happen, but in our area of the country, it happens more through luring a child.
“There are more instances when children are coaxed out as opposed to dragged out. More often than not, that occurs on social media and in chat rooms,” Leslie said. “Kids are better at computers than grown-ups will ever be and that’s because they have grown up with them. Sadly, parents don’t monitor what their kids are doing on their phones, computers and social media.”
From Leslie’s personal standpoint, the making of the new film will bring further attention to this drastic issue, he said.