(LENOX, Mass.) – As a child, Jeanet Ingalls was bought and sold in the sex industry in the Philippines. Today, she is a well-known artist living in the bucolic Berkshires. Now, these two seemingly unrelated aspects of Ingalls’ life are coming together in the form of a new nonprofit, Shout Out Loud Productions, whose first project is the creation of a documentary on child sex trafficking.
Shout Out Loud’s first fundraiser, The Power of One, will be held on Thursday, April 12, 2012, at Shakespeare & Company, at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox. The public is invited. A reception at 7pm in the Elayne Bernstein Theatre will be followed by a discussion at 8pm bringing together a diverse group of speakers, including State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier; local youth advocate Shirley Edgerton; surgeon Pier Boutin, MD, who was one of the first medical volunteers in Haiti after the devastating earthquake; and Shout Out Loud founder Jeanet Ingalls. The panelists will tell their inspiring stories of making a difference in our community and around the world, with Lillian Lennox serving as the moderator. The suggested donation for The Power of One is $75.
It has not been easy for Ingalls to tell her story. “The first seven years of my life was spent as a trafficked child in the Philippines,” says Ingalls. “I was lucky. I got out. In the last several years, I have finally been able to talk about my personal history. But talking about it is not enough. I’ve realized that my story can perhaps represent the millions of children still being trafficked.”
She continued, “It has become impossible for me to enjoy my life here in the Berkshires unless I do everything in my power to help those children. It is a problem that not only happens ‘there.’ It is increasingly happening in our own country.”
Awareness of child sex trafficking around the world and here in the United States continues to grow, along with the determination to put an end to this illegal and abhorrent black market. The International Labor Organization estimates that 1.2 million children worldwide are enslaved in the global sex trade every year. Closer to home, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently signed an Anti-Human Trafficking Bill in November 2011.