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Documentary inspires counter-slavery efforts

Adam Llorens | Monday, April 23, 2012

After viewing the award-winning documentary “Nefarious” at a Christian conference over winter break, freshman Dougie Barnard said he was “wrecked with tears.”

Barnard said he knew he wanted to bring the film, which exposes the growing epidemic of human trafficking and sex slavery around the world, to Notre Dame so students and faculty could experience the same tremendous emotional effect it had on him.

“When I saw the film over winter break, I felt like the Lord really touched my heart,” Barnard said. “I feel like [‘Nefarious’] has the potential to unify the student body to come together on an issue that’s so important and threatening today.”

Cosponsored by the Center for Social Concerns, Notre Dame Christian Athletes, Student Welfare and Development, Iron Sharpens Iron, ND-8, Peace Fellowship and Four:7, “Nefarious” will be shown tonight in DeBartolo Hall.

Barnard said the issues presented in “Nefarious” are particularly relevant to Notre Dame’s mission.

“It relates to social justice here because [the global sex trade is] one of the most important injustices in the world today, and Notre Dame has always had a deep concern for social justice in the world,” Barnard said.

Barnard first viewed “Nefarious” at the annual ONETHING Conference in Kansas City, Mo. in December. ONETHING, hosted each year by the International House of Prayer, is a four-day Christian conference that encourages young adults around the country to join together in prayer and reflection.

“It was [at ONETHING] that they showed ‘Nefarious’ and had the director, Benjamin Nolot, come and speak to us before and after they showed it,” Barnard said. “There were about 15,000 people there that got to see ‘Nefarious.'”

The film challenges Catholics to address an issue that is “sensitive, provoking and disturbing,” Barnard said.

“It calls us to a place of prayer to come together to work to address this issue and to abolish modern-day slavery,” he said. “So it’s a reminder, and a call to take action. One of the ways we can do that is through prayer.”

According to a United Nations report, human trafficking is a $32 billion per-year industry, bringing in more revenue than the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB combined.

Barnard said after the conference, he received an email from a missionary he met at the ONETHING conference, asking if he would be interested in hosting a screening of “Nefarious” at Notre Dame.

“I said I’d love to,” he said. “[The missionary] then put me in contact with members of the Incurable Fanatics [Screening] Tour. They work for an organization called Exodus Cry, the foundation that made this film.”

Barnard said Sarah Smith, program coordinator for the Student Welfare and Development Office and Notre Dame representative for Christian Athletes, also helped bring the film to Notre Dame.

“[Smith] has been coordinating with the members from Exodus Cry, and she’s been the representative from Notre Dame Christian Athletes to bring this film to campus,” Barnard said.

“Nefarious” will be shown tonight at 8 p.m. in 101 DeBartolo Hall. Admission is free.