News 12 at 11 o' clock/ November 12, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Sex trafficking is a problem that is starting to get more attention in the Augusta area. Law enforcement, non profits, and community leaders have been getting creative with ways to address the problem and educate the community.
A local radio host and community activist has written a play about the issue, bringing the problem to life in a unique way on stage.
Miss Monique says she was thinking about what social issue to write about one day, when she asked herself, "'How can I continue to raise awareness in the community?', and I looked back at some events in my own life."
She thought back to her 7th grade year which she says was a pivotal year in her adolescence. She says, "I was almost a victim of sex trafficking... I'm able to talk about it now, because, I was in the 7th grade, what did I know? It was an older girl, an older man, nothing happened, but, I just think about the things that could have happened."
She took inspiration from her past, put in months of research, attended classes offered by the Sheriff's Office, worked with leaders from the local non-profit, I'm Aware, and wrote her play entitled 'Stolen Lives.'
Tyrice Lollis is one of the stars of the play, and as a parent, he's glad to see this issue getting some attention.
"Sex trafficking is a serious subject. It's something that's really plaguing our communities, and it's really affecting a lot of our younger girls," he said
You'll see some familiar faces on stage at the Imperial Theatre: Henry from Henry's Corner, local political figures like Senator Hardie Davis, and radio personality Selina Hamby.
The play addresses many different faces of human trafficking and brings to light the coersion, abuse, and guilt that comes along with the crime.
McKenzie Rae Clark plays one of the lead roles in the play. She's a 16 year old high school student at Cross Creek, and she says she was surprised by some of the things she learned while preparing for this role.
"We need to learn more about this, because honestly, human trafficking is a big deal in our community and should be taught more in our school systems," she says.
Miss Monique says, the most important thing, is that people know this is happening locally.
"It's happening right around here, and we as a community have to stop acting like it's happening in Africa or wherever overseas, it's happening here," she says.
The show hits the Imperial Theatre stage Saturday, November 16th. There is a 3:00 and 7:00PM showtime.
Some of the ticket sales will go to the local non profit, I'm Aware, to help build a shelter for victims of sex trafficking.
For tickets, go to the Imperial Theatre box office on Broad Street.