SEATTLE -- Jaco Booyens, director and producer of the new film "8 Days" about sex trafficking in America, says it's a crime that's a huge problem in the Pacific Northwest.
“Seattle ranks typically in the top 3 in the United States, which then puts it at the top of between 5 and 10 cities in the world. And yes, that statement is accurate,” Booyens says.
In an interview about his film, Booyens says “8 Days” follows the life of a 16-year old girl, Amber, who innocently finds herself in a life she didn’t know existed.
Booyens said casting for the film wasn’t easy. “I had to find a 16-year-old that was mature enough and emotionally stable enough to go through trauma that she’s never experienced.”
The film takes place in Dallas, handpicked for a reason.
“We depict the story in Highland Park Dallas, which is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the United States. We have two ex-presidents that live in Highland Park. The fact of the matter is that two months before the film, there was two rescue missions in Highland Park.”
It drives home that sex trafficking can be found in any neighborhood in America. Even in places you wouldn’t expect.
Booyens knows that firsthand.
“My sister was trafficked for six years,” he says.
Though he didn’t know it at the time, his little sister told him many years later.
“She was trafficked in a way that you would never expect. She was a recording artist in South Africa, and she was trafficked by a record label.”
Her pimps threatened to kill their mother, so she continued, he says.
“This thing is evil” Booyens adds.
He wants teenagers and adults alike to see this film. The producer/director says that awareness is the first step in stopping America’s fastest growing crime.
“I get a lot of questions like, why didn’t we hear about this? One percent of this crime is reported. It’s a $30 billion industry. It has surpassed illegal arms trade. It will, before 2016, surpass in the United States, revenue wise, illegal drugs,” Booyens says.
Folks lined the red carpet at the premiere of "8 days", on Thursday night at the AMC theater on Pine Street in downtown Seattle . All the proceeds from the screening go to Seattle safe houses and non-profit organizations that fight sex trafficking.
If you weren't able to see the movie, you can go to www.8daysfilm.org to order a copy to show around your community.