Filmmaker Champions Sex Trafficking Victims

"But what they do have is access to television and access to music," Davis said. "So I figure if I can use my artistry to create something and give it to organization[s] so that they can use it to visually show … how dark the world of trafficking and forced prostitution is, then they would have a picture in their head … for the rest of their life."

Awards and Awareness

Davis' first project took the form of a short narrative film about a 13-year-old Bulgarian girl who was forced into prostitution and held captive for eight months, who did the unthinkable and tried to escape.

Davis wrote and directed "Svetlana's Journey" and produced it with TopForm Studios. Financial backing was provided by M-Tel, the top Bulgarian cell phone provider. Since its completion in 2005, the film has received international recognition and won three awards -- one for Best Short at the Hollywood Film Festival, and two at the HD Film Festival for Best HD Short and Best Dramatic HD Short.

More important to Davis than the awards, though, is the awareness his work helps spread.

"The No. 2 television station in Bulgaria, for free, put 'Svetlana's Journey' on TV," Davis said, "and more than half the population of Bulgaria saw [it], and to me that was the highest note that I could have ever left the country on."

Eight months after the film was released, feeling that his work was done, Davis returned to Los Angeles.

As his film grew in popularity, U.S. organizations started to take notice. The YMCA, the Coalition Against Human Trafficking, the Salvation Army and the Los Angeles Police Department asked to use the film to spread awareness about sex trafficking.

Davis met several victim advocates, and he learned just how prevalent sex trafficking and forced prostitution is right here in the states.

"I started to learn that this crime was happening to young children in America as well as foreign nationals being brought to America," Davis recounted, "and no one was putting a magnifying glass on that."

The U.S. government has estimated that 800,000 people are bought, sold and smuggled worldwide each year. Between 14,500 and 17,500 of them make their way to the United States from at least 72 countries all over the world. How does this happen?

"It happens because people don't believe its happening," Davis explained. "From big cities to suburbs to inner cities, it is prevalent and it is everywhere. We have all the resources to stop it, and all because people are unaware of it … this crime is growing and is becoming a huge epidemic."

Follow-Up Film in U.S.

Haunted by the stories of two victims of trafficking at one of his film screenings in Houston, Davis felt an obligation yet again to tell their stories but still did not expect this to become such a personal cause. "It was a small seed at that time, and I didn't know it would develop into something bigger," he said.

Last year he started work on his second film, "Cargo: Innocence Lost," and completed the documentary in April, which details sex trafficking in the United States.

"I hope people get two things out of my films," he said. "I hope that one, people understand that they can make a difference, be it in the world of human trafficking or something else that they believe in. Two, and for me most important, to spread awareness about human trafficking. The more people know about this crime, the less power traffickers have to manipulate the vulnerable youth in this society," he said.

He's now bringing that message to colleges and churches as part of "I Stop Traffic," and continues his work with human rights groups.

In the midst of spreading awareness, he is still pursuing his dream of being a Hollywood triple threat -- actor, writer and director -- to create more varied and multidimensional characters for actors of color to portray.

"I figured … if no one is writing and producing these types of roles for actors, then I'll do it for myself," he said, "not only to put myself in a role but to put the tons of actors and actresses that I know who are African-American, Latino, in better roles for themselves as well."

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