WRITTEN BY: DAISY SOLÍS
December 18, 1865. The date on which slavery was abolished. Or so, our history books would like us to believe. Abraham Lincoln is probably turning in his grave knowing that modern-day slavery is very much alive around the world… It is very much alive in the United States and it goes by the name of Human Trafficking.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with one of my favorite human beings, and one of Alegria Magazine’s most illuminating and inspiring cover girls, the beautiful Roselyn Sánchez. We discussed working on this film, the reality behind the world of Human Sex Trafficking, shielding our kids and bringing awareness:
DS: When you got this script, what lead you to want to do it?
RS: It was a very different role for me. As you know, I’ve been doing this for many years and it isn’t very often that I read something that is completely against type. I liked the arc of Malía and her journey, because she starts off as a very specific woman and ends up being completely different. I wanted to work with Dione Taylor. I know they were circling Paula Patton and I believe Omar Epps was already attached. I just knew this was going to be a very exciting experience for me.
DS: Funny that you should mention that it’s a different type of role for you because this is probably the most diverse role you’ve ever played. Was there anything that was especially difficult for you, due to the fact that it was so different?
RS: It’s very interesting you know, because I did “Act of Valor” which was also very gradient. But people automatically associate me with “Devious Maids”, “Without A Trace” and “Game Plan”, you know roles that are a little about the glamour, comedic and just . . . “lighter.” So, it isn’t my first time doing it, but I have recognized that when I do it, people are actually shocked and say, ‘oh my God, I didn’t know that you had that in you…’ And my response is, ‘I have that and more, I just need to be given the opportunity to do it.’ It was one of the reasons why I loved it. It gives be the opportunity to show everyone that there is so much more to me than their perception. Acting is my life and it when I am given these types of roles, it makes me fall in love with acting all over again because it is so . . . uncomfortable, because it is so different from who I am in real life.
DS: People tend to look at trafficking as something that doesn’t happen in America, something that will never happen next door to you. Did you know that this was just as much a domestic problem as it is an international one prior to agreeing to do the film and if so, were you already creating awareness?
RS: As you know, I create awareness with regards to the overpopulation of stray dogs in Puerto Rico. I create awareness regarding pediatric cancer and I had knowledge of human trafficking through Ricky Martin’s foundation. Then I got the Traffik script, read it, met with Dion and I was like, ‘oh my God, how can I be a part of this?’ I believe in it, I think it’s important that we talk about this horrific thing that is happening in the world. It’s almost taboo to think that it happening two doors down, you don’t want to talk about it, you don’t want to believe it’s happening, you don’t even want to think about it… and that is how I became a part of it.
DS: The idea of it happening in the unexpected, for example in broad daylight, with everyday people around makes it that much more horrific. In my Instagram I shared a personal story about something similar to that happening to a friend’s niece. Being a mother of two, how does having knowledge of this industry make you feel? Moreover, knowing that our home state is holding the #1 spot on the list? What is the one thing that you learned about human trafficking that just blew your mind and stuck with you when making this film?
RS: Above all, that is happening in the United States of America… probably 30 minutes from where you live and you have no idea. It is astounding how easy it is for these predators to just grab anyone off the street. I have a six year old daughter, and the statistics surrounding us scares me. You need to watch your kids 100% of the time. You can’t trust anyone. I won’t Sebella play by herself in the front yard. I keep her active with sports and dance, in addition to school and thankfully she is tired by the end of the day. It is such a disillusionment that the conversation had with our children have to change because we have one more thing we need to be paranoid about in the world. But it’s a reality. When she asked what movie premiere I was going to this week and I said “Traffik”, she seemed so uninterested and continued playing and I just thought, ‘Thank you God!’ Growing up in Puerto Rico we didn’t worry about all that. Nos ibamos a San Juan con las amigas sin preocupación ninguna.
DS: The fact that this is in existence make you lose hope in humanity because rather than moving forward mankind seems to be going backwards?
RS: I learned a lot about human nature and how sick and how severely empty a human being must be to pay for sex with someone who is not all there… Someone who’s been used and abused… that is drugged and is bruised, both physically and mentally. What possible satisfaction can you get from something like that? It speaks volumes about society now in days, about how low we are going as human beings… The very fact that the men and women putting up the money for sex with these victims don’t stop and think, that they were born from a woman… That perhaps they have a sister and even a daughter. It’s sad.
It is scary to think that 1.) it’s an epidemic and 2.) 75-80% of the kids that are being trafficked are Black and Latino in the US. Predators seem to be directly focusing in on underprivileged minority youth. What can we do to bring awareness to this form of modern day slavery and hopefully put an end to it? For starters support TRAFFIK this weekend. Other than supporting 100% independently made film, you will be getting a graphic look into this epidemic. In order to bring change, we must first be informed.