The Current

Advocacy News + Updates

Debbie Wright has switched tracks. Not so long ago, she worked in quality assurance at a healthcare company. Now, she and a friend are producing a documentary called “From Liberty to Captivity,” aimed at raising public awareness on human trafficking in Pennsylvania, their home state. After she visited IJM this month, I had the opportunity to speak with Debbie about the big changes she’s made in her life and her new project.

A few years ago, Debbie hadn’t known much about human trafficking other than the documentary “Born into Brothels.” But sitting at home one night, she noticed a commotion and realized that the FBI was raiding her neighbor’s home. According to a friend, the neighbor had been caught distributing child pornography. Having an incident like this occur in her own country, her own state, her own town, her own neighborhood really made an impact on Debbie. She decided she needed to find out more about what was going on around her.

The more Debbie read about human trafficking, the more she was astounded. She knew Pennsylvania had a long history of abolition, but found there was exploitation and modern-day slavery happening right in her own state even today.

Debbie decided, as she put it, that it was time to get “off her knees and into action.” That meant quitting her job and creating a documentary she hopes will educate others about human trafficking in Pennsylvania and tell them what they can do to help stop it.

“From Liberty to Captivity” is well underway, and there has been no end of cooperation and support on all levels for the project. Debbie has learned to be a producer on the fly, and says she’s continually amazed at the connections this documentary has brought forward and the conversations she has been able to have.

Debbie never pictured herself as a spokesperson, but now she finds herself speaking out about this important issue to everyone from senators, to influencers, to her own family and friends. It has been empowering work, and stepping up in this way has given her a sense of purpose and the feeling that she really can affect change.

We wish her all the best and look forward to seeing “From Liberty to Captivity” upon its release.  If you’d like to keep up with the project, you can do so on Facebook and Twitter!