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CAPA takes part in film about human trafficking

Angel Dang said her role in Keeping our Children Safe: Online and IRL was awkward but vital. (ALISON McGILL)

BY REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writer, 215-854-5985

Posted: March 03, 2015

A 20-SOMETHING man was seated yesterday next to a teen girl at 30th Street Station, his arm around her small shoulders, working his charms to lure her to a party and so much more.

But a film crew stationed a few feet away and a small number of adults standing nearby were a sign that all was not as creepy as it may have seemed.

It was all in the service of "Keeping Our Children Safe: Online and IRL (In Real Life)," a volunteer, small-film production about human trafficking involving a couple of professional actors and five students from the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. The film will debut at "In Our Backyard: A Conference on Human Trafficking," being held March 27 at Temple University's Boyer College of Music and Dance

Frankly, Troy Latham, 22, the actor who plays the man doing the luring on one of the station's iconic benches, is skeeved by his role.

"I feel like a total creep. I feel like I'm about to go to jail," Latham said.

Angel Dang, 15, a CAPA junior studying theater, also said she had difficulties playing the part of the young victim.

"It's really awkward. This is not what I'd really do. I probably [would] just punch him in the face," said the Olney teen. Still, Dang is excited about the film's informational value.

"Sometimes, people believe it's only on television and not in real life. It's everywhere and anywhere. It's not just in New York," Dang said.

"It's happening in front of your eyes, and you might not even know it."

Psychologist Clara Whaley Perkins is overseeing the project, which she brought to CAPA when her brother Johnny Whaley was its principal. He retired in 2013, but the project remained there with film-department head Scott Kaufman and theater teacher Marlene Goebig. Kaufman is directing the 15-minute film.

Whaley Perkins, who specializes in trauma issues, said the film aims to highlight the long-term effects of human trafficking and the lack of resources to help its victims.

"They need support when they're out there. They need people who know what they're going through," she said.

She said the short will be shown in graduate programs, middle schools and high schools around the country.

On Twitter: @ReginaMedina


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