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Several years ago I was on a flight with my kids headed to Florida to meet up with my husband. The flight was full and I was just a little irritated that the airline had me and my kids not seated together. The kids sat next to one another and I was a row back and on the other side. At least I had the aisle seat and the guy next to me said he too was not sitting with his wife and daughter. That started our conversation and over the next 3 hours I felt like this was complete divine intervention and I was meant to meet Nathan Elliott.
Nathan, a film producer, was headed to Austin Texas to film one of his many inspirational short films. At the time he was building The Doorpost Film Project, an online social community for visionary filmmakers with a mission to educate, inspire and share their discoveries with the world. He shared the story of a special project called The Butterfly Circus.
I felt like such a sponge and wanted to take in every bit of Nathan’s film experiences and his deep passion for making a difference in the world. Nathan enlightened me on the new video movement in the non-profit world. The latest advancements in technology were now allowing filmmakers around the globe to document and share the stories in real time using multiple social sharing platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, and other video streaming sites. Embedding video code, and sharing widgets were starting to create social sharing frenzies for untold stories now to be seen by millions.
Nathan and I exchanged email addresses on our flight and managed to stay in touch mostly through Facebook over the years.
Nathan is a visionary filmmaker and gifted storyteller. It is through the use of social platforms that Nathan sees a much larger audience and how filmmakers from all over the world are uniting for social justice.
In 2009 he launched IAMACTIVE.org, an interactive website to communicate, collaborate and get people involved in community based activism. The I AM ACTIVE platform links non-profits and offers volunteer match opportunities, volunteer training, and certification. They also offer online donating, and event set up and tracking. I AM ACTIVE developed a widget to embed this functionality right into your website.
Early in September as I was reading through my Facebook feed, I noticed a video Nathan posted about an upcoming trip to Costa Rica using IAM ACTIVE links. I clicked through and listened as he shared his plans to head to Costa Rica with a group of young filmmakers on a journey to unveil the realities of sexual exploitation of children and human trafficking within the Costa Rican boarders.
I interviewed Nathan this past week and my eyes were opened to Costa Rica’s devastating realization. As a destination for sex tourism, Costa Rica is becoming known as “The Bangkok of the West.”
Nathan’s story is titled “Trata”. In English Trata de personas is translated as exploitation of persons. This is a massive cultural issue that the Costa Rican Government is just starting to address, but limited on the resources and funds to hold offenders accountable in addition to educating a culture whose eyes are blind and where molestation is common.
“We discovered a country whose eyes are just beginning to open and address this travesty as more than just status quo.” – Nathan Elliott
Nathan and his team spent two weeks in Costa Rica researching, filming and interviewing government officials as well as spending time on the streets and in bars, where on any given night hundreds of girls would be picked up and sold for sex.
“There is a lot of work to be done,” Nathan shares. I AM ACTIVE has teamed up with Freedom Street Ministries, filmmakers from Of Broken Wings Productions and Costa Rican Government Officials to unite together producing educational documentaries, helping expose the realities of childhood prostitution and to help build safe houses far removed where women and children can be educated and rehabilitated.
“While the problem is culturally ignored. There are those tirelessly working to bring justice to the exploited.” - Nathan Elliott
How can you help today? Please share this story through your social channels, get involved and get active.
Through the use of social media video platforms like IAMACTIVE.org these stories are coming to life, increasing awareness, raising much needed funding and helping put an end to TRATA!
Written by JaDee Locke
Designer, online marketer, freelance writer and proud to admit I am a techie at heart. Creative Director & owner JaDeesigns.com & Media partner @W2GBranding where we promote social good. Wife and mom to an amazing family. Motto: Love the Life You Live. Live the Life You Love!