Too Close to Home


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In December 2012, the Allegany Franciscan Ministries board of trustees approved a $100,000 grant to WEDU, our Tampa Bay PBS affiliate, to produce a documentary on human trafficking that would expose the worldwide human trafficking epidemic and its presence in the Tampa Bay community.  Allegany Franciscan Ministries is proud to partner with WEDU and others on this endeavor to ensure that the most vulnerable do not escape our view and to raise our community’s awareness about this critical issue within and across the state.

As a part of the funded project, WEDU worked with community partners to develop an ongoing awareness campaign. The project has exceeded our expectations. Two PSAs were produced and began running in June on WEDU.  The documentary has been completed:  TOO CLOSE TO HOME and its companion piece, A Roundtable Discussion, will air September 26 at 9 pm on WEDU. With additional support from the Tampa Theatre and the Junior League of Tampa, a free premiere screening of TOO CLOSE TO HOME took place September 12 at the Tampa Theatre – with well over 1000 attendees.  Human trafficking survivors, law enforcement, service providers, other community groups and the filmmaker were available at the event to discuss the issue.

We have been touched and impressed by the positive response so far to this documentary and planning process. The Junior League of Tampa Bay has been a significant partner, by funding a human trafficking website, raising community awareness, and co-sponsoring the premiere screening event.  Other funders and workgroups around the state have also expressed interest.  WEDU will make the documentary available to other PBS stations as well as to nonprofit organizations.

Allegany Franciscan Ministries has funded efforts to address human trafficking since 2007, aligned with the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany in their opposition to all forms of slavery. To date, at least 13 grants totaling $375,500 have been awarded to directly address this issue. The grants have included at least one grant in each of our funded regions and through each of our grant programs (Major, Tau, ACOR, All Region and Scholarship).  Funded projects have been local, regional and national in nature, focusing on education, advocacy and victim services.

For more information about human trafficking, please go to www.WEDU.org/humantrafficking; to learn more about Allegany Franciscan Ministries’ role and activities, please contact Cheri Wright-Jones at cwrightjones@afmfl.org

Allegany Franciscan Ministries, Inc., 33920 U.S. Highway 19 North, Suite 269, Palm Harbor, Florida 34684

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