Private Project

At A CrossRoads

CrossRoads in an organization in Burlington, NC, that helps almost 200 survivors of human trafficking every year. We follow Shannon Finney and Bria Miller as they clear up common misconceptions about human trafficking and their experiences working with survivors.

  • Baldwin Sappenfield
  • Emily Prins
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 1 second
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, Canon C100
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Elon University
Director Biography

Emily Prins is a rising Junior at Elon University studying Cinema & Television Arts. Hoping to work in the field of nonfiction video after graduation, Emily is passionate about documenting human stories that inspire people to listen and act. She is the Programming Director of the Home is Distant Shores Film Festival which features films by and about the experiences of immigrants and refugees. On-campus, Emily serves as the Show Producer of an ESTV show, the Videography Intern at the Center for Design Thinking, and is involved with elondocs.

Baldwin Sappenfield is a Cinema and Television Arts Major and Dance minor at Elon University where she is a rising Senior. Baldwin has knowledge and experience in documentary shooting and has always had a strong passion for filmmaking and creating. She is involved with being both on and off camera for ESTV, is a member of the Elon Cheerleading team, and is studying in LA this summer to gain experience working in the industry.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Despite over 20,000 trafficked individuals reported to Polaris in 2019, human trafficking is a problem that is rarely discussed in the media outside of rare reports of kidnapping attempts. Many members of the public are unaware of human trafficking’s role in prostitution or the prevalence of immigrants who are victims of labor trafficking. Human trafficking is a complex problem that goes widely unreported as many victims struggle to escape. Therefore, a documentary project that focuses on those who work to educate the public and provide aid to those who have experienced trafficking would not only be informative but have a strong emotional core.

This subject is also timely because of a recent intensification of the contributing factors of human trafficking. The COVID-19 pandemic drew media attention away from the problem and placed many individuals in difficult financial situations. Many are lured into trafficking situations with promises of a steady job and an increase in wealth, which may become more promising to those who have been furloughed or fired. Financial inequality has also been steadily increasing in the United States. This inequality drives both supply and demand for trafficked individuals as wealthy people seek out cheap supplies of labor and poorer individuals turn to any means of putting food on the table. This topic is also timely on a local scale because of increased reports of trafficking attempts in the area. In September of 2019, North Carolina police, the State Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security arrested 28 individuals on charges of prostitution or soliciting prostitution linked to sex trafficking in the area. The topic of human trafficking, despite being an old problem, is continuously evolving and updated information is always needed to educate the public, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic intensifying trafficking factors.

Those who raise awareness about the issue and help survivors of human trafficking are rarely spotlighted in the media. In this documentary, we hope to give viewers an insight into the people who interact with this issue every day and why they continue to pursue that work. Many Burlington residents aren’t aware of the work that CrossRoads does or the driving factors of human trafficking. The locality of the film encourages people to care about the incidents happening in their own backyard. However, since human trafficking is such a wide-ranging problem, those outside of the Burlington community can also learn from the documentary and may become interested because of the relevance to their own communities.

As women, both of us have been taught the dangers of trafficking through stories that we’ve heard on the news and social media. We can relate to the stories of victims who have been through terrifying situations, and we acknowledge that we could have been in the same position if our situations were different. Emily has been passionate about human trafficking since taking a class on the topic Freshman year and has done previous reporting on the topic. We hope At a CrossRoads will not only be educational to viewers, but lead them to support anti-trafficking efforts in their own community.