That it's everywhere and happening right now are two facts Jeannie Mai can't emphasize enough when it comes to sex trafficking. She executive produced the forthcoming documentary "Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex Trafficking," which will release in select theaters September 29, and Mai is also a co-host of the daytime talk show "The Real."
She talked with Salon's Amanda Marcotte for "Salon Talks" about the massive and abusive sex trafficking industry that takes the freedom away from thousands of men, women and predominantly children, in the U.S. alone.
Here are some highlights from their conversation. Watch the video above for more on how this epidemic can be stopped, and catch the full "Salon Talks" episode here for Mai's personal stories with sex trafficking.
On understanding the full-depth and commonality of sex trafficking:
It affects every single person in our circumference because somebody you know is involved in trafficking somewhere. It's that easy. And every minute two children are being sold. I mean, that's how common it is today, so we have to put a stop to it. We have to end it, and this film is a perfect way to understand how.
On the various forms of trafficking and dispelling some of the myths of what victims can look like:
A lot of them, you'll see right around you, and you don't realize. They could be gardeners, they could be babysitters, they could be people who manufacture products or goods or clothing. If you ask them: are they being treated fairly? Are they being treated in a humane way? Are they being paid what they deserve or is the environment safe for them? Did they willingly come there on their own?