Shane Nyman, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin | Published 2:17 p.m. CT Feb. 12, 2018
APPLETON - Human trafficking — a serious problem in the state of Wisconsin and here in the Fox Valley — is the topic of a community conversation event as part of the 17th annual Wildwood Film Festival.
The free discussion will be held at 3 p.m. Friday in the Kimberly-Clark Theater at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.
The event will include representatives from the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Appleton, Appleton Police Department, Outagamie County's Department of Health & Human Services and 5-Stones. 5-Stones is a nonprofit that focuses on raising awareness about human trafficking in Wisconsin.
Paul Evansen, who has worked in the media in some form for about 30 years (including with both WFRV and WGBA), will serve as moderator. He'll also share his own personal story connected to the topic.
The conversation will be steered by the showing of three short films from director Julien Lasseur and produced by 5-Stones. Titled "Innocence Sold," the films show a human trafficking situation from three perspectives: the person trafficked, the perpetrator and a friend of the trafficking victim.
Evansen said the goal of the evening is simply to help raise awareness and give people a better understanding of the problem and how we can do our part to help.
"Hopefully (the event will help) get the right information out, the right numbers out, and make them aware," he said. "And also make them aware of what to look for — not to go to the opposite extreme and say every older man with a younger woman might be a trafficking scenario — but to look for the warning signs, the realistic and logical warning signs, and take a more active part. It takes all of us out there in the community doing our part in some small way."
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The film festival held its first community conversation event last year, with a panel discussion and Q&A about race and recidivism.
This weekend marks the 17th year for the Wildwood Film Festival, which celebrates Wisconsin filmmaking. It runs Friday and Saturday at the Fox Cities PAC.
For more information, visit wildwoodfilmfestival.com.