What SOLD Has Accomplished in the Fight Against Human Trafficking
More than 3 million children disappear and are sold into human trafficking every year. The International Labor Organization estimates that more than 20 million people are enslaved today, and 5.5 million of these slaves are children. Whether they are forced into sexual slavery or added to the forced labor workforce, once in this horrific system these children are robbed of their basic human rights and spend the rest of their lives just trying to survive.
This year, the movie SOLD was released in an effort to raise awareness, raise funds and highlight the prevalence of this devastating human rights issue. Based on true stories with fictional characters, this feature film is an adaptation of the novel Sold by National Book Award finalist, Patricia McCormick. To date, SOLD has been awarded 3 audience awards and a jury award on the festival circuit. The movie was selected as the opening night film for 6 film festivals including those in New York, Los Angeles, and London. SOLD was selected as the feature film for the Nobel Peace Summit in 2016. This was the perfect complement to the theme of the night’s events which centered around the mission to end child slavery while also making compassion a global phenomenon. The directors and producers of the movie served as moderators for a discussion, “The Global Reach of Sex Trafficking”, alongside Ray Umashankar, CEO of ASSET India Foundation and Sarah Symons, Founder and CEO of Made by Survivors.
From its inception, SOLD was produced by philanthropists and filmmakers with the express intention of informing the world how vast this problem is, and to inspire people to do something about it. And it has. In Seattle, where the majority of the investors reside, it has spawned the new 5013C organization Stolen Youth, dedicated to the rescue and recovery of the city’s sexually exploited youth. Up to now, this organization has raised 2.8 million dollars for programming and services for these children. Police and social services work together alongside hotels and businesses in the area. Children rescued in the city are treated as victims, deserving of help, not criminals, requiring punishment. SOLD has also partnered with Save the Children to launch the #taughtnottrafficked campaign which has raised $400,000 to help educate families and keep children in schools in India and Nepal.
The filmed is executive produced by two-time academy award winner Emma Thompson, produced by Jane Charles, and directed by Academy award winner Jeffrey Brown. SOLD, however, is not just a film. It is a movement and an attempt to address a global issue that will surely illustrate the impact of high entry point philanthropy. Together we can make a profound and fundamental change in the plight of enslaved women and children around the world.
To learn more, get involved or bring a screening of the movie to a theater near you, subscribe to the SOLD newsletter, or donate directly to the Taught Not Trafficked Campaign.
Photo: North-East India YouTube