Child sex trafficking happens “every minute of every day in every city in America” and Mary Mazzio, an award-winning documentary film writer/director, Olympic athlete, and former law firm partner, is shining a giant spotlight on this unthinkable crime in I Am Jane Doe, her new gut-wrenching documentary, narrated by Academy Award-nominee Jessica Chastain.
The film “chronicles the epic battle that several American mothers are waging on behalf of their middle-school daughters, victims of sex trafficking on Backpage.com, the adult classifieds section that for years was part of the iconic Village Voice.”
63% of underage sex trafficking victims said they had been advertised or sold online. (source)
The Jane Doe plaintiffs featured in the film include middle school girls from Boston, a 15-year-old violinist from Seattle, and a 13-year-old girl from St. Louis. The documentary follows the journey of these young girls and their mothers in real time as they run headlong into a legal collision course not only with Backpage but with judges, special interest groups, and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, an outdated internet freedom law that has been interpreted by federal judges to protect websites from any responsibility for hosting ads which sell underage girls.
The filmmakers note, “Although many of the lawsuits filed by the girls’ mothers have not gone well,” they have stood up on behalf of thousands of other mothers, fighting back and refusing to take no for an answer. Their efforts have also “sparked a political movement that now includes a Senate investigation.”
I Am Jane Doe started showing in AMC theaters in select cities on February 10. The film is unrated, but the filmmakers recommend PG-13.
50% of all profits from the project will be donated to non-profit organizations which serve Jane Doe children.