MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Zonta Club of Marquette is partnering with the Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force (UPHTTF) to present a movie screening intended to bring community awareness to human trafficking occurring locally and across the country. The 2018 film ‘Ring of Silence’ will be shown at The Northern Center on NMU’s campus on January 25, beginning with a reception at 5:30 p.m. leading up to the screening at 6:15.

The showing is open to the public, and parents are encouraged to bring their teenage children to watch and discuss the tactics that traffickers use to get in contact with potential victims. The Zonta Club and UPHTTF say a panel of local experts will be available to discuss and answer questions following the screening.

“The U.P. Human Trafficking Task Force was able to see the movie downstate now three years ago and realized how important it was to relay this message in such a clear way, in a big-screen way, based on real stories,” said Stephanie Graef, President of the UPHTTF. “To be able to get people to understand and see the light that it, too, happens here and that people who are trafficked can come from all backgrounds and people that traffic people also come from all backgrounds.”

By showing a film based on true events that took place near Flint, UPHTTH and the Zonta CLub are hoping to raise awareness of the signs to look for in victims of human trafficking and encourage people to be able to start a conversation that will lead to greater vigilance.

“The bigger cities I think the word gets out a lot more. In the rural, it just isn’t there,” said Marquette County Sheriff Greg Zyburt. “You know we don’t have the programs that a lot of the urban areas do, so it’s important to let them know how vulnerable they are.”

“We said ‘It’s time to speak louder than the silence’,” said Darlene Kyto, a member of the Zonta Club and a board member of UPHTTF. “So that’s why the ‘Ring of Silence’ just fit in into our mission and just to make the community aware of what’s happening.”

The screening is also receiving support from NMU’s Criminal Justice Association, NMU Criminal Justice Department, The Community Foundation of Marquette County, Eagle Mine, Thrivent, NMU President’s Office, and NMU Chief of Police Mike Bath.

The film will have an additional screening on February 8 at the Hancock High School auditorium, with a reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. leading up to a 6:15 start time.

To stay up to date on human trafficking in the U.P. and see how you can help, check out the UPHTTF Facebook page. If you are in need of help or have a tip, you can call or text UPHTTF’s 24-hour confidential helpline at (906) 299-9243 or email at unite@upht123.org.