Movies / Films / Documentaries

MOVIES, FILMS, and DOCUMENTARIES RELATED TO SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Updated December 3, 2012, Sorted alphabetically by film title,

Film Title, Year, Description, Link to watch trailer, find out more, or buy copy of film.

If you know of other movies, please leave a comment so I can include them in this list.  Or leave a comment with your impressions and opinions regarding the accuracy or quality of any of the movies listed.  Your movie reviews as comments are welcome.

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Amanda’s Story – watch it on vimeo

“Through To Be Free, Abolition International is recounting true stories from sex trafficking survivors in a creative and safe manner without re-exploiting victims. Support raised through the film series will help expand aftercare programs for girls like Amanda in the United States, Moldova, and Cambodia.”
Half the Sky- 2012. Nicholas Kristof, Somaly Mam, America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde

  • from the Half the Sky page

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is a four-hour television series for PBS and international broadcast, shot in 10 countries: Cambodia, Kenya, India, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Liberia and the U.S. Inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book, the documentary series introduces women and girls who are living under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable — and fighting bravely to change them. Traveling with intrepid reporter Nicholas Kristof and A-list celebrity advocates America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde, the film reflects viable and sustainable options for empowerment and offers an actionable blueprint for transformation.

It’s a Girl!- 2012

In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide”.

The film tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme dowry-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters’ lives, and of other mothers who would kill for a son. Global experts and grassroots activists put the stories in context and advocate different paths towards change, while collectively lamenting the lack of any truly effective action against this injustice.

Not Today- 2012

Caden Welles has the world at his disposal. With the resources of his wealthy father, he’s living life as large as any 20-year-old could dream. But what happens when that dream becomes a nightmare halfway around the world?

Traveling with his friends to Hyderabad, India on a whim, Caden’s expectations of a never-ending party crash hard. But not as hard as his conscience when he refuses to help a starving man and his little girl. Haunted by the images of Kiran and Annika, Caden attempts to right his wrong—only to discover Kiran has been forced to sell his own daughter.” Read more and see a trailer at Not Today – The Movie

There is No Place for You Here- 2011

There is No Place for You Here is a short documentary about illegal child labor in the gold mines of Ghana. Daniel Sekyere, a 15-year-old Ghanaian boy, tries to escape the life-threatening gold mining industry so that he may continue school and become a pastor. As Daniel considers his options for survival, he seeks refuge from a local radio host and NGO, The Social Support Foundation.

 

Trade of Innocents- 2012, Dermot Mulroney, Mira Sorvino.

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 to use her. Alex, a human trafficking investigator plays the role of her next customer as he negotiates with the pimp for the use of the child.  Claire, 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. She, and Alex both still are dealing with their grief of losing a child years earlier. As both of them struggle in their own way to overcome the pain of their past and realities of child exploitation where they now live and work, they find themselves being pulled together in to the lives of local neighborhood girls, whose freedom and dignity are threatened. Parallel story lines intertwine and twists unfold against the backdrop of the dangerous human trafficking world, in a story of struggle, life hope and redemption in the “Trade of Innocents.”

  Trading Women – 2003, Narrated by Angelina Jolie, Documentary by David Feingold.

“Narrated by Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie, Trading Women enters the worlds of brothel owners, trafficked girls, voluntary sex workers, corrupt police and anxious politicians. The documentary investigates the trade in minority girls and women from the hill tribes of Burma, Laos and China, into the Thai sex industry. Filmed on location, this is the first film to follow the trade in women in all its complexity and to consider the impact of this ‘far away’ problem on the gobal community. The film also explores the international community’s response to the issue.”    Read more at Trading Women (D.E.R.) and Trading Women (WHYY)

  • Thanks to the walkers’ blog at Freedom to Walk (Thailand to Burma) for mentioning this documentary!

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ALL MOVIES – SORTED ALPHABETICALLY BY TITLE
  Amanda’s Story – watch it on vimeo

“Through To Be Free, Abolition International is recounting true stories from sex trafficking survivors in a creative and safe manner without re-exploiting victims. Support raised through the film series will help expand aftercare programs for girls like Amanda in the United States, Moldova, and Cambodia.”
  Amazing Grace- 2006, Ioan Griffudd, Albert Finney

“Ioan Gruffudd plays William Wilberforce, who, as a Member of Parliament, navigated the world of 18th Century backroom politics to end the slave trade in the British Empire. Albert Finney plays John Newton, a confidante of Wilberforce who inspires him to pursue a life of service to humanity. Benedict Cumberbatch is William Pitt the Younger, England’s youngest ever Prime Minister at the age of 24, who encourages his friend Wilberforce to take up the fight to outlaw slavery and supports him in his struggles in Parliament.

Elected to the House of Commons at the age of 21, and on his way to a successful political career, Wilberforce, over the course of two decades, took on the English establishment and persuaded those in power to end the inhumane trade of slavery.”

  Black Gold - 2006. A film by Nick and Marc Francis

“As westerners revel in designer lattes and cappuccinos, impoverished Ethiopian coffee growers suffer the bitter taste of injustice. In this eye-opening expose of the multi-billion dollar industry, Black Gold traces one man’s fight for a fair price.”

Born Into Brothels  Born Into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids – 2004, THINKFilm, movie info at Kids-With-Cameras.org. 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. Carl’s Note: I loved watching this movie. I found it impossible not to smile as I felt like I got to know the kids who were the student filmmakers. Having spent time with kids from families in economic crisis, I could relate to the futility that Zana felt when other heartbreaking forces pulled the kids away from the opportunities they were presented with. It reminds me that even with dedicated, creative, loving, respectful people like Zana, helping children step out of poverty is not easy or guaranteed. The social patterns – internal and external – that got them there are complicated to reverse, and there are no easy answers. But I respect Zana’s willingness to try SOMETHING, and to maintain commitment to something hard. I dare you to watch this movie and not feel your heart tugged by the kids.
Call + Response  Call + Response- Madeleine Albright, Daryl Hannah – 2008, Fair Trade Pictures.

“CALL+RESPONSE is a first of its kind feature documentary film that reveals the world’s 27 million dirtiest secrets: there are more slaves today than ever before in human history. CALL+RESPONSE goes deep undercover where slavery is thriving from the child brothels of Cambodia to the slave brick kilns of rural India to reveal that in 2009, Slave Traders made more money than Google, Nike and Starbucks combined.

Luminaries on the issue such as Cornel West, Madeleine Albright, Daryl Hannah, Julia Ormond, Ashley Judd, Nicholas Kristof, and many other prominent political and cultural figures offer first hand account of this 21st century trade. Performances from Grammy-winning and critically acclaimed artists including Moby, Natasha Bedingfield, Cold War Kids, Matisyahu, Imogen Heap, Talib Kweli, Five For Fighting, Switchfoot, members of Nickel Creek and Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, Rocco Deluca move this chilling information into inspiration for stopping it.”

  Cargo: Innocence Lost - 2008, Michael Cory Davis

(from the Cargo: Innocence Lost website) A compelling documentary, Cargo: Innocence Lost, unveils the dark underworld of sex trafficking through compelling interviews with some of the country’s top officials on the subject, victims’ advocates and victims themselves, who were rescued in Texas. Award-winning director and writer, Michael Cory Davis (Svetlana’s Journey, Hollywood Film Festival 2005 winner, best short), makes his second directorial foray into this must-see, thought-provoking film that is interwoven with a raw, intense narrative based on numerous true stories from victims of the sex trade. Cargo: Innocence Lost explores how the business of sex trafficking has become a $9 billion dollar a year industry and why it still remains a shrouded crime in our nation.

A Dance for Bethany- 2007, Robin Lively.

A Dance for Bethany tells an inspiring and compelling story of how one woman risks everything to help a sex trafficked victim out of the world of slavery and into a world with a future and a hope of fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a real dancer. The fictional Bethany Stevenson is iconic as a 12-year-old runaway forced into sex slavery as a stripper/prostitute. The film chronicles the struggle of reporter Abbey Fisher to free her own self from the bondage of a politically correct and
comfortable lifestyle.

The Dark Side of Chocolate- 2010

A team of journalists investigate how human trafficking and child labor in the Ivory Coast fuels the worldwide chocolate industry. The crew interview both proponents and opponents of these alleged practices, and use hidden camera techniques to delve into the gritty world of cocoa plantations. Plot summary written by Andrew McGraw-Herdeg

The Day My God Died – 2003, Andrew Levine. Narrated by Tim Robbins, Wynona Ryder – IMDB info and cast – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0376559/fullcredits#cast.

  • Summary

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.

Dreams Die Hard Dreams Die Hard – Free The Slaves http://freetheslaves.madebysurvivors.com/product-p/fts3ddh.htm

  • Kevin Bales, author of numerous books on modern slavery, recommended this documentary by Free the Slaves in his comment on one of my posts:

“I’m also rather proud of our new 30 minute film about slavery in America today – it is called Dreams Die Hard, and it just won the Grand Prize at the Telluride Film Festival. You can watch it on-line at our website, or order a DVD copy.”

  Flesh: The Movie - A documentary about sex trafficking in the U.S. Kristin Ross Lauterbach, Director.  Christina Lee Storm, Producer.

 Free The Slaves Logo Free The Slaves -Documentary Videos- view the Free The Slaves collection of documentaries at their site. As of August 2012, these were the documentaries listed:

  • Removing Slavery from Product Supply Chains
  • Slavery in Your Pocket: The Congo Connection
  • Triggering Hope
  • Dreams Die Hard
  • Slavery: A Global Investigation
  • Freedom and Beyond
  • The Silent Revolution

Go to the Free The Slaves web site, Click on “Our Work”, Click on “Films”, Click on “Documentaries” (they move their links around occasionally, so you may need to search)

  Half the Sky- 2012. Nicholas Kristof, Somaly Mam, America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde

  • from the Half the Sky page

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is a four-hour television series for PBS and international broadcast, shot in 10 countries: Cambodia, Kenya, India, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Liberia and the U.S. Inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book, the documentary series introduces women and girls who are living under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable — and fighting bravely to change them. Traveling with intrepid reporter Nicholas Kristof and A-list celebrity advocates America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde, the film reflects viable and sustainable options for empowerment and offers an actionable blueprint for transformation.

Holly Holly- 2006, Ron Livingston, Chris Penn, Thuy Nguyen. Priority Films (first of three in The K11 Project)

  • Carl’s note:

Holly is a fictional story, so it’s a little easier to stomach than some of the documentaries in this list. Also, Holly spares us from some of the raw brutality of human trafficking, though not all of it. Be prepared to be disturbed at times. Patrick, Ron Livingston’s character, is unaware of what he’s getting into, so he’s takes us with him on his innocent journey of discovery about the complications of human trafficking. Yeah, it’s not all realistic, but I don’t get the impression that any of the fictionalized parts of the story will hurt the cause of fighting human trafficking. Some need info from documentaries. Others need fiction, and this is a good starting source for those people.

“Patrick (Ron Livingston), an American card shark and dealer of stolen artifacts, has been ‘comfortably numb’ in Cambodia for years, when he encounters Holly (Thuy Nguyen), a 12-year-old Vietnamese girl, in the K11 red light village. The girl has been sold by her impoverished family and smuggled across the border to work as a prostitute.

Holly’s virginity makes her a lucrative prize, and when she is sold to a child trafficker, Patrick embarks on a frantic search through the both beautiful and sordid faces of the country, in an attempt to bring her to safety. Harsh, yet poetic, this feature forms part of the ‘K-11’ Project, utilizing mass media to raise awareness of the global child trafficking epidemic. The producers are executing the K-11 Project in conjunction with their non-profit, the Redlight Children Campaign, which is a worldwide grassroots initiative generating conscious concern and inspiring immediate action against child sexploitation.”

Human Trafficking Human Trafficking – 2005, Mira Sorvino, Donald Sutherland, – IMDB info and cast – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0461872/fullcredits#cast

When a sixteen-year-old girl from the Ukraine, a single mother from Russia, an orphaned seventeen-year-old girl from Romania, and a twelve-year-old American tourist become the victims of international sex slave traffickers, a specialized team of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) struggles to expose the worldwide network that has enslaved them.

Mira Sorvino has won an Academy Award, the Golden Globe Award, the Critics’ Choice Award, the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle citations, among other honors, for her performance in Woody Allen’s “Mighty Aphrodite.” Having supported the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime(UNODC)’s anti-trafficking initiatives since 2007.

It’s a Girl!- 2012

In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of this so-called “gendercide”.

The film tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme dowry-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters’ lives, and of other mothers who would kill for a son. Global experts and grassroots activists put the stories in context and advocate different paths towards change, while collectively lamenting the lack of any truly effective action against this injustice.

  The Jammed- 2007.  “Welcome to the best Australian film of the year” – Jim Schembri, The Age

“A young Melbourne woman, Ashley Hudson, reluctantly agrees to help a Chinese mother search for her missing daughter. Hooked on caffeine and bored with her job and loveless life, Ashley is unwittingly drawn into the darker edges of this sophisticated cityscape, to women – sometimes under-age girls – working as sex slaves.

Brought in by human trafficking syndicates to work as prostitutes in debt bondage, these are the modern sex slaves of Australia that are then conveniently deported when they hit their ‘used by date’.

As the story unravels, the sinister workings of illegal prostitution and governmental deportation is filled with twists and surprises. This is not an imaginary world, and Ashley also learns the hard way that maybe not everyone wants to be rescued.”

  The K11 Journey (in production as of August 2012) – Priority Films

  • The third film in the K11 Project (also Holly and Redlight)

Produced by Priority Films, the K11 Project is the most comprehensive film project about child trafficking and child sexual exploitation to date.   The name itself derives from a district in Phnom Penh called Svay Pak, which is also known as Kilometre 11 or K11, and is internationally known for the high number of brothels located that exploit not only young Vietnamese and Cambodian women but also children as young as five.   Guy Jacobson, the President of Priority Films, was decided to produce the K11 Project after an eye opening sabbatical in Cambodia and his encounter with a group of 5 to 7 year old girls in Phnom Penh, whom aggressively tried to solicit me for prostitution. As of today, two of the three films which make up the K11 project have been completed; the final film, entitled The K11 JOURNEY, a reflective documentary on the filmmakers experiences making the first two films, is currently in production. (from RedlightChildren)

  Kayan Beauties - Far from home and out of their element, a race to find one of their own.

  • Synopsis from the Kayan Beauties web site

Three Kayan women decide to travel from their remote village in the Kayah State of Myanmar to sell handicrafts in the distant city of Taunggyi, in the Shan State. They are accompanied by a Kayan girl, who has just had the tribe’s decorative, brass rings placed around her neck.

In Taunggyi, the girl is kidnapped by human traffickers. Far from home and out of their element, the Kayan women desperately search for the girl.

   Lilya 4-Ever-2002 (Lilja 4-ever) original title

Lilya, 16 lives in Estonia, and dreams of traveling abroad to find a new life.  Abandoned by her mother, who goes to the U.S. without her, Lilya turns to prostitution.  She falls in love with Andrei, and he lures her to Sweden with empty promises.  Steadily, Lilya’s life unravels and she becomes trapped in commercial sexploitation.

  Magnificent Girl – 2013 (in development as of July 2012). A film about the unlikely friendship between a troubled family from Harlem and a woman from Moldova who narrowly escapes the sex trade.

Magnificent Girl is the story of a young mother who leaves Moldova for a nanny job in NYC only to narrowly escape the sex trade. Desperate to get back to her daughter, she journeys through the city where she finds herself mixed up in the lives of a troubled family.

  Maria Full of Grace – 2004, Catalina Sandino Moreno. This film is more about drug trafficking than human trafficking, though the economic pressures and family & social dynamics are similar.  Still, this Berlin and Sundance Film Festival award winner is powerful.

The film tells the story of one young woman’s journey from a small Colombian town to the streets of New York. A bright, spirited 17-year old, Maria Alvarez (Catalina Sandino Moreno) lives with three generations of her family in a cramped house in rural Colombia and works stripping thorns from flowers in a rose plantation. The offer of a lucrative job involving travel – in fact, becoming a drug “mule” – changes the course of her life. Far from the uneventful trip she is promised, Maria is transported into the risky and ruthless world of international drug trafficking. Her mission becomes one of determination and survival and she finally emerges with the grace that will carry her forward into a new life.

 Nefarious Documentary Trilogy Nefarious Documentary Trilogy 

“Nefarious, Merchant of Souls, is a hard-hitting documentary that exposes the disturbing trends in modern sex slavery. From the very first scene, Nefarious ushers you into the nightmare of sex slavery that hundreds of thousands experience daily. You’ll see where slaves are sold (often in developed, affluent countries), where they work, and where they are confined. You’ll hear first-hand interviews with real victims and traffickers, along with expert analysis from international humanitarian leaders.”

  Not For Sale II: Join the Fight - 2010 (updated version of Not For Sale: The Documentary)

“Based on the book Not For Sale by David Batstone, covers what modern-day abolitionists are doing to fight the rampant terrors of human trafficking in the US and abroad. Traveling over 120,000 miles across five continents, Producer and Director Robert Marcarelli and his film crew gathered undercover footage on this billion-dollar industry and interviewed the heroes that are determined to see it end. Not only does the film expose harsh realities, but it also breathes new hope into the issue by documenting the valiant work of contemporary emancipators and the practical steps they’ve taken to mount an anti-slavery movement. Stories told by the people who’ve lived them, these compelling accounts aim to inspire individuals to practical action. It’s time the world knew the realities of slavery. It’s time to spread the word that a new era for Abolitionists is at hand.”

  Not My Life- 2011.  Worldwide Documentaries, Directed by Academy Award nominee Robert Bilheimer.

  • Watch the trailer and find out more at notmylife.org
  • Follow Not My Life on facebook

(from notmylife.org) “Not My Life is the first documentary film to depict the horrifying and dangerous practices of human trafficking and modern slavery on a global scale.
 
Filmed on five continents over a period of four years, Not My Life unflinchingly, but with enormous dignity and compassion, depicts the unspeakable practices of a multi-billion dollar global industry whose profits, as the film’s narration says, “are built on the backs and in the beds of our planet’s youth.”
 

  Not Today- 2012

Caden Welles has the world at his disposal. With the resources of his wealthy father, he’s living life as large as any 20-year-old could dream. But what happens when that dream becomes a nightmare halfway around the world?

Traveling with his friends to Hyderabad, India on a whim, Caden’s expectations of a never-ending party crash hard. But not as hard as his conscience when he refuses to help a starving man and his little girl. Haunted by the images of Kiran and Annika, Caden attempts to right his wrong—only to discover Kiran has been forced to sell his own daughter.”    Read more and see a trailer at Not Today – The Movie

  The Price of Sex - 2011. A documentary film investigating sex trafficking by Mimi Chakarova

“The Price of Sex is a feature-length documentary about young Eastern European women who’ve been drawn into a netherworld of sex trafficking and abuse. Intimate, harrowing and revealing, it is a story told by the young women who were supposed to be silenced by shame, fear and violence. Photojournalist Mimi Chakarova, who grew up in Bulgaria, takes us on a personal investigative journey, exposing the shadowy world of sex trafficking from Eastern Europe to the Middle East and Western Europe. Filming undercover and gaining extraordinary access, Chakarova illuminates how even though some women escape to tell their stories, sex trafficking thrives.” (from The Price of Sex website)

  Rape for Profit – (in production as of January 2012).  The documentary uncovering domestic sex slavery in Seattle and its suburbs.

   Redlight- 2009, Documentary by Guy Jacobson and Adi Ezroni, Narrated by Lucy Liu. Priority Films (2nd film of the K11 Project)

“Filmed over a four year period, REDLIGHT focuses on the personal stories of young Cambodian victims and two remarkable advocates for change: grass-roots activist Somaly Mam and politician Mu Sochua. Both have since been nominated for the Noble Peace Prize. The filmmakers Guy Jacobson and Adi Ezroni won the prestigious Global Hero Award for their work in Cambodia.”

  Sacrifice: The Story of Child Prostitutes from Burma - 2007.

“Each year thousands of young girls are recruited from rural Burmese villages to work in the sex industry in neighboring Thailand. Held for years in debt bondage in illegal Thai brothels, they suffer extreme abuse by pimps, clients, and the police.

The trafficking of Burmese girls has soared in recent years as a direct result of political repression in Burma. Human rights abuses, war and ethnic discrimination has displaced hundreds of thousands of families, leaving families with no means of livelihood. An offer of employment in Thailand is a rare chance for many families to escape extreme poverty.

Sacrifice examines the social, cultural, and economic forces at work in the trafficking of Burmese girls into prostitution in Thailand. It is the story of the valuation and sale of human beings, and the efforts of teenage girls to survive a personal crisis born of economic and political repression.”

  Sex + Money: A National Search for Human Worth - 2011.

Sex+Money: A National Search for Human Worth is a documentary about domestic minor sex trafficking and the modern-day abolitionist movement fighting to stop it. Since September 2009, the crew has traveled to over 30 states and conducted more than 75 interviews with federal agents, victims, politicians, activists, psychologists, porn-stars, among others.”

   Taken – 2008, Liam Neeson – Find out more at IMDB
  Taken 2 – 2012, Liam Neeson. Find out more at Taken 2 – IMDBIn Istanbul, retired CIA operative Bryan Mills and his wife are taken hostage by the father of a kidnapper Mills killed while rescuing his daughter.

  There is No Place for You Here- 2011

There is No Place for You Here is a short documentary about illegal child labor in the gold mines of Ghana. Daniel Sekyere, a 15-year-old Ghanaian boy, tries to escape the life-threatening gold mining industry so that he may continue school and become a pastor. As Daniel considers his options for survival, he seeks refuge from a local radio host and NGO, The Social Support Foundation.

Trade Trade – 2007, Kevin Kline.  This is a pretty well-done, touching and eye-opening movie. The ending is a little over the top, but otherwise the film effectively personalizes the plight of victims, and the difficulty of combating trafficking even for well-meaning law enforcement.

When 13-year-old Adriana (Paulina Gaitan) is kidnapped by sex traffickers in Mexico City, her 17-year-old brother, Jorge (Cesar Ramos), sets off on a desperate mission to save her. Trapped by an underground network of international thugs who earn millions exploiting their human cargo, Adriana’s only friend throughout her ordeal is Veronica (Alicja Bachleda), a young Polish woman captured by the same criminal gang. As Jorge dodges overwhelming obstacles to track the girl’s abductors, he meets Ray (Kevin Kline), a Texas cop whose own family loss leads him to become an ally. From the barrios of Mexico City and the treacherous Rio Grande border, to a secret internet sex slave auction and a tense confrontation at a stash house in suburban New Jersey, Ray and Jorge forge a close bond as they frantically pursue Adriana’s kidnappers before she is sold and disappears into a brutal underworld from which few victims ever return.
Inspired by Peter Landesman’s chilling NY Times Magazine story on the U.S. sex trade, “The Girls Next Door,” TRADE is a thrilling story of courage and a devastating expose of one of the world’s most heinous crimes.

   Trade of Innocents - 2012, Dermot Mulroney, Mira Sorvino.

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 to use her.  Alex, a human trafficking investigator plays the role of her next customer as he negotiates with the pimp for the use of the child.
Claire, 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.  She, and Alex both still are dealing with their grief of losing a child years earlier.  As both of them struggle in their own way to overcome the pain of their past and realities of child exploitation where they now live and work, they find themselves being pulled together in to the lives of local neighborhood girls, whose freedom and dignity are threatened.  Parallel story lines intertwine and twists unfold against the backdrop of the dangerous human trafficking world, in a story of struggle, life hope and redemption in the “Trade of Innocents.”

Trading Women – 2003, Narrated by Angelina Jolie, Documentary by David Feingold.

“Narrated by Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie, Trading Women enters the worlds of brothel owners, trafficked girls, voluntary sex workers, corrupt police and anxious politicians. The documentary investigates the trade in minority girls and women from the hill tribes of Burma, Laos and China, into the Thai sex industry. Filmed on location, this is the first film to follow the trade in women in all its complexity and to consider the impact of this ‘far away’ problem on the gobal community. The film also explores the international community’s response to the issue.” Read more at Trading Women (D.E.R.) and Trading Women (WHYY)

  • Thanks to the walkers’ blog at Freedom to Walk (Thailand to Burma) for mentioning this documentary!
  Very Young Girls- 2007.Thanks 9to20 blogger, a trafficking survivor, for recommending this film. Carl’s Note: If you’ve done social work or recovery work, you’ll “get” this movie. People, especially kids, who have been traumatized are not easily or casually healed. The good news is that the human psyche CAN recover from trauma and pain. The bad news is that it’s not easy or guaranteed. GEMS is doing the hard work on the support side, and the brave girls who are fighting to escape from “the lifestyle” are doing the hard work on the their side. Many girls are learning to find their voices, their strength, their significance through the inspiration and support of GEMS. I found it both painful and uplifting to watch, and recommend it to others.

  • Here’s a description from GEMS:

Very Young Girls is an exposé of the commercial sexual exploitation of girls in New York City as they are sold on the streets by pimps and treated as adult criminals by police. The film follows barely adolescent girls in real time, using vérité and intimate interviews with them, documenting their struggles and triumphs as they seek to exit the commercial sex industry. The film also uses startling footage shot by pimps themselves, giving a rare glimpse into how the cycle of exploitation begins for many women.

  • Watch a trailer and find out more at GEMS or watch it at Netflix
  The Whistleblower- 2010, Rachel Weisz.

Inspired by actual events, Kathy (Academy Award® winner Rachel Weisz) is an American police officer who takes a job working as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia. Her expectations of helping to rebuild a devastated country are dashed when she uncovers a dangerous reality of corruption, cover-up and intrigue amid a world of private contractors and multinational diplomatic doubletalk. Directed by first time filmmaker Larysa Kondracki, the film also stars Academy Award winner Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci and Academy Award nominee David Strathairn.

Comments
  1. Michael says:

    Another one is a great narrative short film called Land of Smiles. It deals with the terrible child trafficking problem in Thailand. Please check out the facebook page for more information http://www.facebook.com/landofsmilesfilm and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3316892/?ref_=rvi_tt

    • Carl says:

      Michael, Thanks for chiming in with an additional recommendation! I’ll check out the Facebook page for Land of Smiles when I get a chance. – Carl

  2. katenaceday says:

    A CIVIL REMEDY is a newly released short documentary about sex trafficking of American girls within the United States. It recently won the 2014 Media Award of The Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys.

    The film tells the story of an American girl who was trafficked for sex in Boston. Her first-person narrative bears witness, gives account, to the thousands of American girls and women, who are victims of domestic sex trafficking. Overwhelmingly poor, disproportionately girls and women of color, their average age of entry is between 12 and 14.

    Sex trafficking is a story lived in the shadow of international, national, and state laws on sex trafficking and prostitution, under which traffickers, pimps and “johns” commit brutal crimes and victims are often treated as criminals with little recourse to justice.

    A CIVIL REMEDY interweaves commentary by Gloria Steinem, activist Alicia Foley, and author Siddharth Kara addressing not only the systemic and systematic violence and shocking profitability of domestic sex trafficking, but the need to put new legal tools in the hands of victims. A civil remedy – a civil right of action for money damages – may change the way sex trafficking and prostitution are seen in society and empower survivors to hold the pimps, purchasers and profiteers accountable in law.

    Learn more about A CIVIL REMEDY at Film and Law Productions website, http://www.filmandlaw.com.

    Purchase a film through educational distributor Berkeley Media, LLC, http://www.berkeleymedia.com/catalog/berkeleymedia/films/womens_studies_gender_studies/womens_studies/a_civil_remedy

  3. Michael says:

    Land of Smiles is a great fiction narrative about the deplorable sex industry in Thailand. http://www.facebook.com/landofsmilesfilm

  4. Jeff Turner says:

    There is a free veiwing of a movie called Tricked advertised in the Sun City Independent newspaper, Wednesday, April 30th 2014, Sun City Arizona website: arizonanewszap.com. Front page.

    it describes sex trafficking. No little more about it. I think its worth while checking it out.

    Kindly, jeff turner

  5. Lindsay says:

    TRICKED documentary, 2014, (http://www.trickedfilm.com/)
    Description from the website: “Modern-day slavery is alive and well in the United States as thousands of victims are trafficked throughout the country to satisfy America’s $3 billion a year sex trafficking industry. Meet the pimps, the johns, the police, the parents and the victims of the America’s thriving sex trade in TRICKED, a comprehensive documentary that uncovers America’s dirty secret. It’s an industry that is fueled by greed, fantasy and the commercial sexual exploitation of American children and girls.

    Embedded with the Denver Vice squad, TRICKED follows Sgt. Dan Steele and his colleagues in their dogged pursuit of traffickers and devotion to rescuing victims. In Las Vegas, ground zero for escort services, Las Vegas Police detectives work to hit traffickers where it hurts them most, by seizing their financial assets. In New York, Chicago and Las Vegas, brash and unrepentant johns reveal the how, why, when and where of what they call “a hobby.”

    From Sgt. Steele to the survivors, TRICKED weaves together dramatic, disparate, inter-dependent characters and provides an unflinching view of the world of sex trafficking, the almost incomprehensible and disturbing bonds between the traffickers and victims and the seemingly insurmountable challenges faced by law enforcement nationwide.”

    - See more at: http://10000men.com/about/#sthash.xPhyVfEv.dpuf

  6. […] Other Films under consideration (via “Human Trafficking” on WordPress): Click Here […]

  7. Jane says:

    Eden is a really good movie. It’s about human trafficking and it’s based in a true story.

  8. Julia says:

    Gardens of the Night is a great film about the issue of sex trafficking!! Love this list though!! Def. bookmarked so that I can try and watch these films!!

  9. seanymph007 says:

    Please add “Shun Li and the Poet” to your list: a current film presenting one face of “indentured slavery” in Italy, conducted by the Chinese Mafia and Italian Mafia thugs who support them.

  10. Deb says:

    This is a fantastic documentary- well worth the cost of the DVD http://www.soldthefilm.com/
    Please add it to this listing.

  11. Hi, I would like to ask you a favor, some days ago in my mind appeared some memories about a movie, which I can’t find right now, the story was made some where in Europe, and is about a woman, who was raped many times for burning children, which after that were soled to families, the story ends with the dual problem for that woman, its her last child which she found it, and he lives in a good and loving family, then she decided to go and work for them as a house cleaner.

    • Carl says:

      Thanks for visiting and leaving a question. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the movie story you’ve described. Perhaps one of the blog readers will recognize your movie story and tell us the name. Good luck finding the movie, and if you figure out the answer, please visit back and tell us the name.

      Regards,
      -Carl

  12. Danny says:

    Great lists! I want to add one more movie about the same subject, coming from Indonesia: ‘Jamila and The President’.

  13. You’re welcome, Carl. I truly appreciate what you are doing. I first became more aware of Human Trafficking and actually forced myself to pay attention to it (always hard to comprehend how people can be so cruel) after watching, “Taken.” I came across your site while looking into Human Trafficking awareness blogs and volunteer sites (I’m actually currently working with a charity organization that is still in the founding stage).

  14. Hello Carl,

    I love your site and your wonderful list of movies! Thank you for posting these. They are definitely hard to watch, but I believe it’s necessary. So many people don’t like to bring these matters up because it makes them “uncomfortable,” but it should make them uncomfortable! Being uncomfortable makes us realize something is terribly wrong!

    I noticed you had a comment concerning human trafficking awareness movies that would be suitable for mixed ages- not as intense as documenteries and not as graphic as some films. This need was posted by Renee Gibbs. I wanted to provide a link that may help other people who want to raise awareness, but to do so in an appropriate way for younger age groups. I had the pleasure of acting in a webseries, “Think Outside the Blog,” created/directed by Legrand Fry in hopes to raise human trafficking through an entertaining drama. It’s not as “in your face” as most films dealing with this subject, but it does cause you to think as it follows the life of a young lady who is trying to protect her childhood, best friend who was subjected to human trafficking and constantly battles her addictions and desires to return to it.

    Here is the link to the series: http://totbtheseries.com

    I hope it can help in some way to make people see that this isn’t just some far off issue, but one that is very close to us and happening to people like you and I every day.

    • Carl says:

      Thanks for the comment and the link to an excellent list of movies!
      -Carl

    • Renee Gibbs says:

      I need help finding a compelling human trafficking film/video appropriate for high school students. I’d like the film to emphasize that this crime happens right here in the USA, not just elsewhere. I need it to be about 15 to 30 minutes long? Thanks, Renee

      • Carl says:

        Hi Renee,

        Thanks for visiting and asking about a movie for high school students. I sympathize with the struggle to find something at the right level, especially for a mixed group. It’s an intense issue, so many documentaries may not be suitable to show a young audience where their parents have differing standards on what they allow their kids to be exposed to. Also, it needs to be accessible to the students. It has to seem relevant. Most of the ones on my MOVIE list are probably too long, and I don’t have one great answer, so here are my suggestions:

        1. Sex + Money – it’s about domestic minor sex trafficking in the US, but given their campaign to tour, inform, and fund raise, I’m guessing it’s not overly graphic or sexual for general audiences. I haven’t seen it and therefore can’t vouch for it, but that’s my impression from the web site. http://sexandmoneyfilm.com/film/ I can’t tell how long the film is, so you might need to show part of it if it’s too long.

        2. Not For Sale II – Join the Fight – This is probably too long, but you can find an exerpt since they tell 5 different stories. It’s partly about the US, and partly about other countries. Again, I haven’t seen the film, but I’ve read the book and it’s very accessible for students. Screen it yourself first, but it might be a good choice. http://www.notforsalefilm.com/

        3. Free The Slaves documentaries – for example “Removing Slavery from Product Supply Chains.” https://www.freetheslaves.net/SSLPage.aspx?pid=649 While this isn’t directly about human trafficking that happens IN the U.S., it’s about how people in the US can act in practical ways to help reduce slavery that primarily occurs in other places. This is very relevant to US students because it’s the stuff they buy every day. One example that is in the US is tomato pickers in Florida. Not sure if that’s in this movie, but whether or not they address it in the movie, you can talk about the tomato industry in Florida and how tomato pickers in the US are struggling with growers who want to enslave and/or underpay tomato pickers. http://www.ijm.org/news/your-voice-matters-day-immokalee

        You might also contact Not For Sale, Free the Slaves, Polaris Project, or IJM and ask them the same question. Those organizations are all about educating people and getting them fired up to get involved.

        Good luck and let me know if you find one that’s good! Regards, -Carl

        ________________________________

  15. Denene says:

    Now there is Sex + Money and Nefarious and Flesh: The Movie a new documentary

    • Carl says:

      Thanks Denene for the suggestions. I edited your comment to combine both parts into one, fixed a typo, and added links to the movie sites. I also added the movies to my Movies page, and will include graphics and info when I have time.

  16. Carl
    Add Cargo: Innocence Lost to the list of movies to watch

  17. Pavel N. says:

    Sex traffic (Canada, 2004) – two Moldavian girls leave for London to study English but instead find themselves sold to a brothel somewhere in ex-Yugoslavia.
    Promised land (Israel, 2004) – a group of “Russian” girls cross Sinai desert to be auctioned to brothels of Eilat.
    The jammed (Australia, 2007) – sexual slavery in Melbourne.
    Action movies:
    Sweet Karma (Canada, 2009) – a mute girl named Karma follows step by step the way of her sister who’ve been trafficked to Canada and disappeared there. On her way Karma kills everybody she believes is guilty for her sister’s fate.
    Dolan’s Cadillac (Canada-UK, 2009) – a woman witnesses a trafficking episode but is slaughtered by the mafia’s boss. Her husband seeks for revenge, which takes of him 7 years.
    What a wonderful place (Israel, 2005) – the movie consists of few story lines, among which – a story of few “Russian” girls trafficked to a brothel.
    Matroesjka’s (10 series, Belgium, 2005) – gangsters entice a group of Lithuanian girls to Antwerp promising them a dancing career but instead force them into prostitution.
    Matroesjka’s 2 (10 series, Belgium, 2008) – a sequel of “Matroesjka’s”. The gangsters from the first part have been discharged from prison and try to fix their financial problems by reselling prostitutes from Thailand, ex-USSR, and Central Europe.

    • Emylee Ruth says:

      Thank you for the list of movies. Another to consider is:
      VOLVIENDO- documentary that follows three filmmakers as they research for a fictional feature film about a sex slave from Latin America.
      
      But after a dangerous trip through a dozen Latin countries, their hearts are changed by the brokenness of the victims, and their quest to make a movie becomes a compelling story within itself.

      With first-hand interviews on the front lines of this social injustice, “VOLVIENDO” digs to the universal roots of the issue and presents a comprehensive solution that involves you. (volviendo.org)

  18. nadia says:

    I believe “Lilja 4-ever” (2002)is missing on the list of movies to watch. Kindly check out http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0300140/

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