When most people think about human trafficking they reference international organized crime or Third World countries. However, the US Justice Department estimates there are between 35,000 and 170,000 people, many of them minors, trafficked into the country every year. Surprisingly, one of the regions most impacted by human and sex trafficking is the American Mid-West.
I reached out to teen actor Kaci Hinds to comment on the issue, social, media and the origins of this episode.
It seems like there’s been more and more reporting lately on human trafficking, not just overseas, but here in America. Can you share with us how did the storyline for “Friend Me” come about?
In 2016 I was invited to a fundraising event addressing Human Trafficking in our area around Wichita Kansas, and learned a lot about the issue in my community. In 2017 I met the Front Seat Chronicles team and that is when we started developing a short film to bring more attention to this issue.
As a high school student in the Nation’s Heartland, were there any similarities you could relate to with your character?
Since I am in that generation growing up with Social Media and technology and wanting to be on my phone all the time to communicate with others and get information. You do have that desire to meet people you speak with online and get introduced to by your friends. It’s apart of everyone’s daily life now.
Since you’ve been active locally in regard to trafficking, what advise would you give to young people on social media and their parents?
Parents check your kids Social Media on a regular Basis. Be smart and only communicate with people you know. Don’t meet people off Social Media if you do include your parents. Thru acting I have met several other Actors but my parents were involved and we spoke on the phone many times prior to meeting and my parents were with me. If you feel something is not normal on social media report to your parents and school staff and Police right away.
Was this your first time shooting in Los Angeles? What was the process like working with Dru Perez, your co-lead, and the FSC team in general?
Yes my first time shooting in Los Angeles. I have been there several times for Meeting and Acting Classes.
We went thru the scene with over five different girls and Dru Perez was the right choice I had the best connection with her. Dru and I were able to take a serious topic and develop a close working relationship in less than 24 hours. Monique and Allen from the FSC team were able to keep us calm and focused and in character for the 1 day shoot it was a lot of work and intense at times. I worked with Allen for a year coming up with the script and making sure all our information was accurate so we presented this in the best way. Working with Dru and the Front Seat Chronicles team was an excellent experience and we have a wonderful story to share.
After taking on such a serious topic, what’s next for you as an actor?
To continue looking for opportunities to Act and learn more about the Film Industry. I enjoy doing makeup and hair and hope to someday make my own films.