The Alexia Foundation is excited to share the trailer for “The Long Night,” Tim Matsui and MediaStorm‘s profound examination of domestic minor sex trafficking in the United States, produced with the support of The Alexia Foundation.
Set in Seattle, the work gives voice and meaning to the crisis of minors who are forced and coerced into the American sex trade. The film follows four people as they navigate this difficult world. A father searches for his daughter, a teenager struggles to break free of her drug addiction and the streets, a young girl tries to rebuild herself, and police officers try to help those trafficked break free.
This isn’t a film with an agenda. It’s a story about people facing circumstances that I cannot imagine having to deal with.
The film is built off of the initial work from Tim Matsui, the first ever Alexia Foundation Women’s Initiative Grantee. Tim received a $25,000 grant to document domestic minor sex trafficking.
“We are so pleased to be able to present this strong documentary work in collaboration with MediaStorm on this important, often overlooked issue,” says Jim Dooley, Executive Administrator of the Alexia Foundation.
Natalie’s story is one of the powerful tales Tim captured. A happy, middle class child, she was coaxed into a life of prostitution by a much older man she was convinced she loved. Commonly, young girls enter the life manipulated by men they love.
“I think what strikes me most is that Natalie is the quintessential American girl with a seemingly normal environment in a loving family,” says Aphrodite. “Her personal testimony is riveting and opens the conversation as to why these girls ran away. She and Lisa are not from third world countries. Yet, they have resorted to being sexually manipulated and abused.”
The people in the film demonstrate what an incredible person and journalist Tim Matsui is. Since receiving The Women’s Initiative Grant in October, Tim has spent months gathering video, audio and photos, helping a family who had been destroyed by sex trafficking share their story and making his way into a community of addicts and dealers. A hotel he visited was one of three generating 17% of the police calls in the city of Tukwila.
Tim’s honesty and belief in the importance of the story allowed him access to these difficult scenes and emotions. Carey Wagner worked with Tim to provide additional footage and encouragement. The Long Night is a testimony to the lives of those who have lived, and survived, the crisis of domestic minor sex trafficking.
“This isn’t a film with an agenda,” explains Tim Matsui. “It’s a story about people facing circumstances that I cannot imagine having to deal with myself.”
It was MediaStorm who found a full length film in what Tim gathered in the streets, putting together the powerful stories in a way that captures the brutal reality of sex trafficking today in the United States.
“The US National Association of Attorneys General has made sex trafficking their #2 agenda item after narcotics,” notes Aphrodite, “What you see in “The Long Night” in Seattle is just one example of what is occurring in cities around our country.”
The mission of The Alexia Foundation is to support the production of stories that drive change. We are so fortunate to be able to partner with organizations like MediaStorm and talented photojournalists like Tim Matsui who tell them. We are confident that this film will bring all important attention to this terrible trend.
To learn more about the people of “The Long Night,” read Tim Matsui’s “Leaving the Life,” a series of blog posts detailing his progress on this story and the people who generously have shared their lives with him to make change and this film possible.