UPDATE: Enough money raised to make Iowa documentary about sex t - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Enough money raised to make Iowa documentary about sex trafficking

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Iowa filmmaker Vanessa McNeal just posted to Facebook saying, "We made our goal!"

Enough money was raised to begin production of, "Gridshock," a documentary that will shed light on sex trafficking in Iowa. 

In just a few months, people donated over $35,000 dollars to go towards production of the film. 

On Facebook, Vanessa posted, "So grateful for all 270 donors that invested in me and the project. Words can't describe this feeling."

To learn more about the documentary, click here

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For some it might be hard to believe, but sex trafficking is happening in every state, including Iowa.  According to the National Human trafficking service, there were 42 human trafficking cases reported last year in Iowa.

According to the Junior League of Des Moines, on any given day, 150 children are sold for sex in the state. During nationally attended special events like the Iowa State Fair, Drake Relays, and the Superbowl, that number increases by 5 times.

KWWL spoke with a Waterloo mom who was kidnapped and sold for sex when she was just 15 years old. She says she was beaten and sold every day for several months until she ran away.

While being trafficked, she tells KWWL she remembers being stuck in a locked room. “I would watch Oprah on T.V. and remember being jealous of her because she was healthy. She got to eat,” this mom says.

Stories of survivors are just one reason why three award-winning filmmakers want to create a documentary called, “Gridshock.” The film would expose the sex trafficking industry in Iowa.

In their website the filmmakers say, “With its geometrically even 99 counties, Iowa appears from the sky to be a perfect grid – tidy and balanced. But all around us is a thinly veiled market trading in sexually enslaved human beings, mostly women and children. In two online clicks, you can purchase – for sex against their will – an infant, child, or adolescent; a woman or man; in any county in Iowa.”

“Gridshock” would share the voices of law enforcement, medical professionals, social workers, and activists. It would also focus on the stories of victims and survivors.  "It would share the vulnerabilities that traffickers target. The emotional manipulation. The psychological warfare. The brutal everyday reality of sexual slavery."

Here’s the thing. The filmmakers need to raise 35 thousand dollars in order to start production. If they do not raise that much money by the end of next week, they won’t be able to make the film.

For more information on how you can donate and help out, click here. (You can click on the pink button that says back it)

For a breakdown of what the money will go toward, click here and scroll down until you get to, "Budget Breakdown- Fundraising Goal $35,000."

There’s also a Facebook Page about the film, with daily updates on how the campaign is doing.

Here's what the indigogo site about Gridshock has to say:

…yes, Iowa. Are you shocked?

Gridshock is a feature-length investigative documentary that exposes the sex trafficking industry in Iowa. It will explore the insidious network of sexual enslavement that is flourishing in our communities RIGHT NOW.

A common misconception is that sex trafficking starts with abduction; that assumption is dangerously false. Most victims are lured in by someone they know:

A family member who routinely “rents out” a five-year-old boy for a night then returns him to his unsuspecting caregiver.

A romantic partner who convinces a 16-year-old girl that she’ll do it “just this one time.”

An already indoctrinated victim who under threat of physical harm lures another teenager at the mall to “come over and hang out”; then hands her over to be gang raped, then threatened and manipulated to return again and again.

These are your nieces, your neighbor, that girl on the swim team, that boy who works at the local convenience store. This is happening every day, out on the grid, in our neighborhoods IN EVERY SINGLE IOWA COUNTY.

It’s easy to think it doesn’t happen here. Iowa is proud of its “Iowa nice” identity and throughout the state, people in both rural and urban areas seem to embody this virtue – from the two-finger wave to the neighborly corner-store chatter.

With its geometrically even 99 counties, Iowa appears from the sky to be a perfect grid – tidy and balanced. But all around us is a thinly veiled market trading in sexually enslaved human beings, mostly women and children. In two online clicks, you can purchase – for sex against their will – an infant, child, or adolescent; a woman or man; in any county in Iowa.

Gridshock, reminiscent of “gridlock” – “a traffic jam affecting a network of intersecting streets” – features law enforcement, medical professionals, social workers, and activists who share often futile efforts to interrupt the flow of sex trafficking in Iowa. The film will also expose real-life former traffickers who illuminate the dark networks that drive the trade.

Most important, Gridshock focuses on victims and survivors. The vulnerabilities that traffickers target. The emotional manipulation. The psychological warfare. The brutal everyday reality of sexual slavery. It’s a story of trauma and survival. It’s a cautionary tale. It’s a wake-up call.

Set to release Fall 2018, Gridshock is directed by a team of three award-winning filmmakers: directors Vanessa McNeal and Alex Schuman, and cinematographer Taylor Bluemel.

We have 60 days to raise $35,000 in order to start production.

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