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Play explores issues behind human trafficking

We’ve all seen them – their intentions are fairly obvious. Scantily clad and with a come-hither stance, they beckon to men and earn a living.

On Sunday, “Costly Desires” will explore the complex issue of human trafficking and prostitution.

The show is a production of Seattle-based Drybones Artist Collective, which describes itself as a group of artists “who long for more in a thirsty world.”

Written by Megan Becker, a former Spokane resident and founder/artistic director of Drybones, “Costly Desires” tells the story of Maria and Yen, two young women pulled into the world of sex trafficking, and John, a married man whose sexual addiction threatens his marriage. Through monologues, dance, original music and dream sequences rolling on film across a backdrop, the audience is offered a glimpse into the how’s and why’s of the sex trade in an attempt to raise understanding and awareness.

Becker’s decision to tackle human trafficking came after seeing the play “Ruined,” which portrays the brutal treatment of African women in war-torn eastern Congo, leading her to begin researching the abuse of women in the United States. She learned that human trafficking is larger than the drug industry and prevalent in the Northwest.

“Kidnapping a woman is only a small part of the business,” Becker said. “Manipulating and controlling a young woman who most likely comes from a past of abuse is much more common.”

Becker has a master’s degree in acting from the New School for Drama in New York City. She is a director, playwright, teacher, choreographer, and performer who has been involved in many theaters, dance companies and schools. Drybones began in February 2012 after Becker invited artists to her Seattle home to discuss creative ways in which to address social issues.

“Costly Desires” is Drybones’ first production. It ran two days to full houses in Seattle, with proceeds going to the Genesis Project and REST – Real Escape from the Sex Trade. The production will donate 25 percent of ticket sales of Sunday’s show at the Bing to support local anti-trafficking efforts with the Coalition to Abolish Human Trafficking in the Inland Northwest.

Becker hopes that after seeing “Costly Desires,” the audience will have a better understanding of all of the players involved in sex trafficking, including the pimps, the johns, and the young woman whose come-hither stance is likely born of loneliness, fear, sorrow and even a touch of hope.

“ ‘Costly Desires’ is filled with sad truths, but also human connections and relationships, and hope,” Becker said, adding that theater, music, dance and other forms of art are powerful things. “They can change a person’s heart, and that’s how big changes happen: one person at a time.”

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