Did you know that the trafficking of women and children is the world’s fastest growing crime? The Department of Defense has characterized human trafficking as the world’s fastest growing crime, and the majority of victims are, tragically, women and girls.

And contrary to popular belief, the United States isn’t immune. The Urban Institute estimated that underground trafficking ‘economies’ ranged from $39.9 million in Denver, Colorado, to $290 million in Atlanta Georgia. Urban Institute analyzed eight American cities and found figures equally staggering. Human Trafficking is definitely happening in the US and has been on the rise. Polaris, a nonprofit working to combat modern-day slavery reported a thirteen percent jump in identified cases from 2016-2017. They estimate that the number of victims in the United States is somewhere in the hundreds of thousands. A majority of those trafficking cases concerned escort services, however a high number involved other job offers, job positions and scams mostly posted online. And such scams target adults AND kids.

Thus our story touches on such scams which can bait people with promises of money, success, comfortable jobs, or in our case, fame.

The movie and television industry also has a number of unlicensed agents and management companies that scam young people with false hope, promising Hollywood dreams and the world but deliver nothing but disappointment and a hefty price tag. The companies making the promises do rather well financially living off hopeful parents and wide-eyed kids who succumb to their wiles.

The Aria Appleton Shines production team hopes to inspire healthy family conversations, perhaps dinner table conversations, that will help us all address the potential dangers of sharing information online, especially names, photos, address, and phone numbers. We would like to see the number of people who are entrapped by trafficking schemes and movie industry scams reduced through educating the public. We feel that Aria Appleton can help open the door for this conversation without treading into challenging area of explaning adult sexuality to children.

The conversation can occur if parents will discuss how
Aria’s prank on Lindsey puts Lindsey in potential danger AND gets Phillip and Timothy Battlefield and the rest of the neighborhood in the middle of a government investigation. Our treatment of the scenario in the film is madcap and humorous, but the consequences for Aria, Lindsey and the rest of the gang are all very real. We hope this will give parents a platform from which to dicuss issues such as bullying, pranks, and especially internet safety.

For our kids and yours,
Nathan & D’Lytha Myers

For more information about organizations combatting the trafficking problem in the US and beyond, please visit the following links:

UNBOUND in Waco, Texas

Advocates for Freedom in Biloxi, MS.