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As nations around the globe attempt to fight sex trafficking, many consider legalizing prostitution. Two filmmakers travel across ten countries to explore the issue, attempting to answer the question: “How can we prevent sexual exploitation before it happens in the first place?” Though governments are getting better at prosecuting traffickers and providing aftercare to victims, it is time we begin to ask the question of what lies at the root.
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TRADE OF INNOCENCE
In the back streets of a tourist town in present-day Southeast Asia, we find a filthy cinder block room; a bed with soiled sheets; a little girl waits for the next man. Alex (Dermot Mulroney), a human trafficking investigator, plays the role of her next customer as he negotiates with the pimp for the use of the child. Claire (Mira Sorvino), Alex’s wife, is caught up in the flow of her new life in Southeast Asia and her role as a volunteer in an aftercare shelter for rescued girls where lives of local neighborhood girl’s freedoms and dignity are threatened. Parallel story lines intertwine and unfold twists against the backdrop of the dangerous human trafficking world, in a story of struggle, life, hope and redemption in the “TRADE of INNOCENTS.” CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE TRAILER. Click here for more resources on the film.
Nefarious I: Merchant of Souls
is a controversial documentary exposing the undercurrent of injustice beneath the surface of sex-tourism. Millions of women and children around the world are increasingly becoming the expendable pawns of a burgeoning business catering to the demand for illicit sex.
These women and children are dehumanized and exploited while mainstream culture remains complicit in their demise. Benji Nolot goes undercover to reveal the plight of the exploited and uncover the hypocrisy and complicity of cultures around the world that foster this industry, as well as offer an unexpected hope for comprehensive change. CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE TRAILER
Following the recent acts of violence and murder of street prostitutes across Canada, the Ontario Superior Court struck down the laws regulating prostitution, sparking legal appeals and contentious debate. Buying Sex brilliantly zeroes in on two radically different visions at the heart of these debates through the stories of those who have most at stake: the buyers and sellers of sex. Sex workers who successfully challenged the laws argue for a model of decriminalization, a capitalist free market of consensual sellers and buyers. Another group calls for zero tolerance that would criminalize the buyers, arguing that street prostitutes are overwhelmingly poor, gendered and racialized. As an appeal wends its way through the courts, the film travels to New Zealand and Sweden, two countries that have adopted these models, and uncovers some surprising and unexpected results. Ultimately, the film asks the viewer to decide which vision would lead to a more just society. Lynne Fernie Click here to watch the trailer.
Born Into Brothels
Born into Brothels, by Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski, is the winner of the 77th annual Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. A tribute to the resiliency of childhood and the restorative power of art, Born into Brothels is a portrait of several unforgettable children who live in the red light district of Calcutta, where their mothers work as prostitutes. Zana Briski, a New York-based photographer, gives each of the children a camera and teaches them to look at the world with new eyes.
The film, released by THINKFilm, premiered theatrically at the Film Forum in New York City in December 2004. It has since opened in over one hundred theatres nationwide. It premiered on HBO/Cinemax on Tuesday, August 16th, 2005.
The film is now available on DVD. Click here to watch the trailer.
Taken is a 2008 English-language French action thriller film which stars Liam Neeson. Neeson plays a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative who sets about tracking down his daughter after she is kidnapped by human traffickers for sexual slavery while traveling in France. Click here to watch the trailer.
The Day My God Died
The Day My God Died is a feature-length documentary that presents the stories of young girls whose lives have been shattered by the child sex trade. They describe the day they were abducted from their village and sold into sexual servitude as, The Day My God Died.
The film provides actual footage from the brothels of Bombay, known even to tourists as “The Cages,” captured with “spy camera” technology. It weaves the stories of girls, and their stolen hopes and dreams, into an unforgettable examination of the growing plague of child sex slavery. Click here to watch the trailer.
Call And Response
Call + Response is a 2008 documentary film by Fair Trade Pictures to support human rights activism against human trafficking and slavery on a community level. The film explores the 21st century slave trade and offers first hand accounts on the issue from Cornel West, Madeleine Albright, Daryl Hannah, Julia Ormond, Ashley Judd, Nicholas D. Kristof, and many other prominent political and cultural figures. The film also includes musical performances from Moby, Natasha Bedingfield, Cold War Kids, Matisyahu, Imogen Heap, Talib Kweli, Five For Fighting, Switchfoot, Nickel Creek, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Rocco Deluca.
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The Natashas: The New Global Sex Trade – Victor Malarek
On the black market, they’re the third most profitable commodity, after illegal weapons and drugs-the only difference being that these goods are human, though to their handlers they are wholly expendable. They are women and girls, some as young as 12, from all over the Eastern bloc, where sinister networks of organized crime have become entrenched in the aftermath of the collapse of Communist regimes. In Israel, they’re called Natashas, whether they’re actually from Russia, Bosnia, the Czech Republic, or Ukraine, no matter what their real names may be. They’re lured into vans and onto airplanes with promises of jobs as waitresses, models, nannies, dishwashers, maids, and dancers. But when they arrive at their destinations, they are stripped of their identification, and their nightmare begins. They are sold into prostitution and kept enslaved; those who resist are beaten, raped, and sometimes killed as examples. They often have nowhere to turn; in many cases, the men who should be res- cuing them-from immigration officials to police officers and international peacekeepers-are among their aggressors.
The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men that Buy It – Victor Malarek
Following up on his scathing indictment of the international sexual enslavement of women in The Natashas, investigative journalist Victor Malarek lays bare the other side of the crisis?the men who fuel the demand.
Each year more than 800,000 women and children are lured, tricked or forced into prostitution to meet an apparently insatiable demand, joining an estimated 10 million women already ensnared in the $20 billion worldwide sex trade.
To date, most research on the subject has focused on the various issues that propel these women into the trade, but little has been investigated, or written, about those who trigger the demand?the “Johns.” In this hard-hitting expos?, Malarek unmasks the kind of men?and organizations?that foster and drive the sex trade, from America to Europe, Brazil to Thailand, Phnom Penh to St.Petersburg and Costa Rica. The Johns is a chilling look into a dark corner of the world that these men have created at the expense of countless women and children.
Invisible Chains – Benjamin Perrin
Just outside Toronto, a 14-year-old Canadian girl was auctioned on the internet for men to purchase by the hour. A young woman was taken by slave traders from an African war zone to Edmonton to earn greater profits by exploiting her in prostitution. A gang called Wolfpack recruited teenagers in Quebec and sold them for sex to high-profile men in the community.
The global problem of human trafficking is only beginning to be recognized in Canada, even though it has been hidden in plain sight. In Invisible Chains, Benjamin Perrin, an award-winning law professor and policy expert, exposes cases of human trafficking, recording in-depth interviews with people on the front lines—police officers, social workers, and the victims themselves—and bringing to light government records released under access-to-information laws.
Paid for: My Journey Through Prostitution – Rachel Moran
‘When you are fifteen years old and destitute, too unskilled to work and too young to claim unemployment benefit, your body is all you have left to sell.’ Rachel Moran came from a troubled family background. Taken into State care at fourteen, she became homeless and got involved in prostitution aged fifteen. For the next seven years Rachel worked as a prostitute, isolated, drug-addicted, outside of society. Rachel’s experience was one of violence, loneliness, and relentless exploitation and abuse. Her story reveals the emotional cost of selling your body night after night in order to survive-loss of innocence, loss of self-worth and a loss of connection from mainstream society that makes it all the more difficult to escape the prostitution world. At the age of 22 she managed, with remarkable strength, to liberate herself from that life. She went to university, gained a degree and forged a new life, but she always promised that one day she would complete this book. This is Rachel Moran’s story, written in her own words and in her own name.
Memoirs of a Sex Slave – Timea Nagy
A story of one person’s difficult journey into the underbelly of the sex slavery trade and the personal healing and forgiveness that followed. Timea Nagy hopes to inspire others to rise above victimization and lead joyful and purposeful lives in spite of difficult circumstances a living example of grace in action.
The Slave Next Door – Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter
In this riveting book, authors and authorities on modern day slavery Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter expose the disturbing phenomenon of human trafficking and slavery that exists now in the United States. In The Slave Next Door we find that slaves are all around us, hidden in plain sight: the dishwasher in the kitchen of the neighborhood restaurant, the kids on the corner selling cheap trinkets, the man sweeping the floor of the local department store. In these pages we also meet some unexpected slaveholders, such as a 27-year old middle-class Texas housewife who is currently serving a life sentence for offences including slavery. Weaving together a wealth of voices—from slaves, slaveholders, and traffickers as well as from experts, counselors, law enforcement officers, rescue and support groups, and others—this book is also a call to action, telling what we, as private citizens, can do to finally bring an end to this horrific crime.
Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada: Making the Connections – Melissa Farely
Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada addresses the scope of the sex industry in Nevada, including human rights violations against women in the Nevada legal brothels. The book describes how the multibillion-dollar illegal sex industry in Las Vegas works. Sex trafficking from within and outside of the US, advertising for prostitution, political corruption, pornography, organized crime and the constant demand of men for paid sex – all contribute to prostitution and trafficking in Nevada.
Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade & How We Can Fight It
“Human trafficking is not an issue of the left or right, blue states or red states, but a great moral tragedy we can unite to stop . . . Not for Sale is a must-read to see how you can join the fight.” —Jim Wallis, author of God’s Politics
“David Batstone is a heroic character.” —Bono
In the revised and updated version of this harrowing yet deeply inspirational exposé, award-winning journalist David Batstone gives the most up-to-date information available on the $31 billion human trafficking epidemic. With profiles of twenty-first century abolitionists like Thailand’s Kru Nam and Peru’s Lucy Borja, Batstone tells readers what they can do to stop the modern slave trade. Like Kevin Bales’ Disposable People and Ending Slavery, or E. Benjamin Skinner’s A Crime So Monstrous, Batstone’s Not for Sale is an informative and necessary manifesto for universal freedom.