Documentary aims to shine a light on human trafficking

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While the world has been watching the competition of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the last two weeks, alumnus Jonathan Goodson ’11 has been capturing a different side of the event.

He’s working on a documentary about human trafficking for the organization A Voice for the Voiceless (a school and ministry affiliated with Youth With a Mission), headquartered in Kona, Hawaii. Because of press passes obtained for the games, he and his co-leader have had the opportunity to get an insider’s look at the competition – and what happens outside of events like this.

“These media credentials have allowed us to get right up to the games and meet some amazing people in different areas of news, media, and journalism. They have also given us space to work near the Olympic Games, allowed us to get up close with the athletes, and [go on] complimentary tours around the city,” Goodson says.

His goal in Rio is to meet and talk with people fighting against human trafficking, as well as the people who are in it.

“We want to understand the world of human sexual trafficking and how and why it’s such a taboo subject. Most importantly we want to know why this is a problem that our world is facing,” he says.

“Sports and competition is a part of [our culture and] we should always enjoy sporting venues. BUT we as a culture must be aware of what has been hidden,” he explains. “The problem with sex trafficking is that the victims are often hidden in plain sight.”

Goodson says a major problem with sex trafficking is that many victims think they are loved and cared for by their abusers, and believe they have chosen their life, even while being bought and sold on the street. The gradual process of ownership robs them of their true identity.

One of the aims of A Voice for the Voiceless is to use media to shine a light in the darkness.

“We seek to use this [documentary] to awaken people to the reality of the world … All it takes is a little bit of light to brighten a dark room and that is what we are calling people to be.”

His documentary focuses on sex trafficking: what it looks like, where it is, who is behind it, how to look for it and when it takes place. His team has already captured footage in Hawaii and Brazil, and has plans to travel through Germany and mainland USA on the way back to Kona.

“We are focusing on various locations, cities, and countries to see how they are combating the issue.”

When he returns to Hawaii, he and his co-leader will launch a media school with A Voice for the Voiceless to teach young people how to create documentaries that will impact the world.

“We will focus on how to interview, [do] lighting, audio, editing, filming, post production, story boarding, and all with the goal of screening the product for people by touring various countries and regions,” he says.

A Voice for the Voiceless’ Discipleship Training School, which Goodson attended, teaches young people how to effectively use media to advocate and be a voice for unheard people around the world. To date, the school has sent hundreds of people into the world to fulfill the Great Commission.

“The whole idea is multiplication.  We want to begin a revolution of people wanting to change and be a ‘A Voice for the Voiceless’ in our present day world.”

Jonathan GoodsonEditor’s note: At Bethel, Jonathan Goodson studied music education with a minor in musical theatre. He says this degree led him on a path to discover what he was made for: to help people find their voice. He credits choir director and professor Bob Ham with teaching him that life is about relationship, and that Jesus and people are the reason for living. “More than anything, I want people to realize who they are so that the music of their hearts echoes God’s heart,” he says.

Learn more about A Voice for the Voiceless and how you can support Goodson’s work.