Liberty is Here

Posted: March 27, 2015

Sex trafficking. Exploitation. Human selling. These are all words that often seem irrelevant in our Canadian context. North American lives can feel completely removed from anything relating to these atrocities; yet, exploitation is a closer reality than most of us imagine. According to the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report, “Canada is a source, transit, and destination country for people trafficked across national borders for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour.” So what will we do about it?

Introducing “I Am Liberty”: A choreography written and performed by Briercrest’s dance team, Refined Undignified (RU), that sheds both light and hope on this perplexing reality. Jacee Webber, RU’s director and the visionary behind ‘I Am Liberty’, could not ignore the issue any longer and decided to take action. The project began in November 2013 when Jacee and members of RU heard a talk from former Miss Canada, Tara Teng, advocating against human trafficking during her Canadian tour. That same week Jaycee experienced several different confirmations that this was something they needed to do: “We knew we were supposed to share this story …God made this a clear calling,”she says. 

For Jacee, the challenge was the reality of her personal lack of experience in the world of human trafficking: “How to create a show when you have never lived there …and trying to understand it.”Webber starting familiarizing herself by ordering books online and watching documentaries; however, it was not until she met with several woman who had been personally victimized by trafficking that she was given a realistic view into the dark world of exploitation. Webber approached RU about the vision and they were immediately onboard with the idea and started dreaming. By November 2014, the dances for ‘I Am Liberty’were in full progress.  

The show tells the story of a teenage girl who is befriended, trafficked, and sold into a brothel. Dance scenes and video work are strategically directed to reveal the conflict between romance and manipulation that continually destroy the protagonist’s whole being. Similar to the reality of trafficking, scenes reveal the process of the “lover boy’s” power over the young girl as she slowly trusts him, eventually finding herself trapped and controlled by him. The show is careful to reveal that although the male is the antagonist, he is not necessarily evil, but rather a slave to sin. Both the exploited and the traffickers are in captivity and in need of liberation - hence the title ‘I Am Liberty.’Jacee says the show is really about proclaiming truth: “speaking over these people …for their freedom in Christ.” 

The vision behind ‘I Am Liberty’is to raise awareness, spark hope, and inspire action. The intention behind this piece is fundamentally to bring the body of Christ together to ignite change. “God has such a heart for this,”says Jacee, “and the church needs to be in the front lines of this issue.”RU hopes the show will reveal the realities of human trafficking and sexual exploitation within Canada and inspire people to take action against this modern form of slavery. Within the painful story of ‘I Am Liberty’lies hope that is extended to all those needing liberation. Liberty is here.

‘I Am Liberty’is showing Friday March 27th at Heritage Alliance in Moose Jaw and Saturday March 28th in the Hildebrand Chapel of Briercrest College and Seminary. Doors open at 6:30pm and performances start at 7:00pm. There is a five dollar cost at the door and all proceeds go towards RU’s partner, Defend Dignity. We hope to see you there.