Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Play Empowers Communities to Confront Issues of Sex Trafficking

Vidas que se extinguen, or Extinguished Lives, a play written by the Center’s own Abril Georgina García Andrade, has been performed ten times in the last two months for 1500 students, teachers, and community members.  Born out of Nicaragua’s United National Development Programme funding designated for human rights education through theater, and further supported by funding from the Nicaraguan delegation of the European Union, the play presents the harsh realities of child sex trafficking poignantly.  The story of Erlinda and those who surround her throughout her journey into prostitution and her eventual death at the hands of a client leaves audiences speechless and tearful.  With child prostitution on the rise in Nicaragua, Jairo Denis Silva, Artistic Coordinator of the Center, says that “this work confronts reality directly.”  Instead of ending on a painful note, the play’s forum-debate format creates a space for participants and audience members alike to transform what they’ve witnessed into a vehicle for action through reflection, analysis, and discussion.  Abril says that she wants her play to be a wake-up call for those who see it, an event that says to them “look, open your eyes, this is what is happening, and you have a responsibility to do something about it.”  Indeed, she states that “what most gratifies me about this work is that it imparts responsibility to its audience.”  And this goal is being reached.  As one audience member stated after the July 16 performance of the play at the Center, “it’s important that we leave here and take responsibility, women as well as men.  Because sometimes we see things at home and we laugh, we don’t say anything.”  According to actress Daniella Miranda Rodriguez, her role as Doña Chica Maldonado, the owner of the brothel, has had a tremendous impact on her because “I don’t stay quiet anymore when I see situations of injustice.”  The play’s run has been extended thanks to further funding from the Dutch Embassy, strengthening the movement of conscientization against child sex trafficking and other forms of violence.      

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