A few weeks ago, ECPAT-USA co-sponsored our sister trafficking organization, Saving Jane’s big, end-of-summer cultural bash for under-served youth in NYC. After months of working with producers, cast and crew, we helped to present a special free performance of the interactive, acclaimed musical OSCAR at The Crown for homeless kids, survivors of human trafficking, LGBTQ youth, immigrant youth, young people in recovery, and other under-served populations of young people in NYC. The immersive musical includes singing, dancing, and moving stage platforms – all happening inches from the crowd. Over 25 youth organizations, bringing over 100 at-risk young people attended the show!
OSCAR at The Crown is a musical about a gang of cultural outcasts who have holed up at the Crown, an off-the-grid nightclub, in order to escape a dystopia that targets anyone who is "different." To entertain themselves, they put on pageants about the rise and fall of Oscar Wilde, a gay man put on trial for indecency. Staged in a functioning dance club, the 3 Dollar Bill, there is non-stop music, movement and light shows, creating a thrilling musical party experience from start to finish. The play takes on many twists and turns, revealing a very important message that resonated deeply with many of the youths in attendance. No matter how marginalized you are by your culture, no matter how dark your circumstances are, no matter the pain you’ve had to endure, there is always hope for a life of authenticity, flourishing and joy – and it all starts with that first, scary step toward finding that new light. This is an especially important message for survivors of trafficking.
Among people who were sexually abused during childhood, many often engage in abusive relationships as adults. They might repeatedly find themselves in adult relationships where they are victimized, physically, emotionally, and/or sexually. Some may even become abusive themselves. Children are often coerced by an adult they have trusted. This can lead victims to distrust therapists, social workers, and other support systems who try to aid after their recovery.
Feelings of fear, irritability, abandonment, and mistrust can arise. It is crucial to end the cycle of abuse. We should always advocate fully and holistically for youth, both before potential harm and after abuse has occurred to guide young people toward finding their happiness and realizing that they are worthy of genuine love and trust, free from pain.
Many youths left the show with heartfelt tears of joy in their eyes, explaining how beautiful the messages were about welcoming happiness in the face of adversity. The performance was followed by a pizza party. During the pizza party, Saving Jane's Thomas Estler moderated a Q & A that culminated in a radiant rapport between the cast and the young audience, and everyone left the experience with a heightened sense of community and hope. The young people expressed their gratitude for the performance, as well as their own interest in the arts inspired by such a wonderful production. This is especially influential as art can often be helpful medium for those who have endured distress.
A special thank you to the cast, crew, and producers of OSCAR at the Crown for donating the special performance for one of the most vulnerable populations and for Saving Jane for including ECPAT-USA in such a powerful event.
Photo courtesy of OSCAR @ the Crown