Best Documentaries to Learn about Human Trafficking

April 14, 2014

My friend John wrote to me recently and asked me what documentaries I recommend about trafficking. I’ve watched a few, but my list wasn’t very extensive. So, I put a call-out over Twitter to get help from my friends in the anti-trafficking movement to see what films they recommend. Here’s what came back:

Not My Life

Brian Wo from the Bay Area Anti Trafficking Coalition (BAATC) recommended Not My Life.   He said of the film is the BAATC’s “current  ‘go to’ film that looks at the many different types of trafficking from labor to sex from US to international, and it follows individual stories in an engaging way.

Here is the trailer:

While the film is 90 minutes long, below is the 32 minute version:

The Dark Side of Chocolate

Brian also reminded me about The Dark Side of Chocolate.  It’s a slow film, but very informative about the link between chocolate and child slavery in Ivory Coast.

Here is the film:

Here are International Justice Mission’s recommendations:

At the End of Slavery

Narrated by actor Danny Glover, At the End of Slavery: The Battle for Justice in our Time takes you inside the violent and ugly business of modern-day slavery — the buying and selling of human beings — from the brothels of the Philippines to the brick kilns of India.

Undercover footage and first-person testimony from former slaves and respected experts expose the enormity of the crime — but a remarkable strategy and the courage of today’s abolitionists offer hope for a final end to this brutal trade.

Shot on location in the Philippines, India, Cambodia and the U.S., At the End of Slavery takes you to the frontlines of today’s battle for justice and includes true stories of former slaves and undercover footage from police operations to rescue children from brothels. International Justice Mission’s investigators, lawyers and social workers and their clients, along with other leading abolitionists and anti-trafficking experts, show that there is nothing inevitable about slavery. Law enforcement success in finding and rescuing victims, and prosecuting perpetrators, demonstrates the real possibility of an end to this trade.

Here is the full film:

 Rape for Profit

This film explores sex trafficking in Seattle.  It is available on iTunes.  Here is a the trailer:

Half the Sky

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.

Here is a trailer of the film:

You can also purchase the film here. 

SOLD

So, I just watched the first ten minutes of this, and it took my breath away.  It explores domestic sex trafficking.  Both parts are available on youtube and are imbedded below.

Part 1

Part 2

Call + Response

Mark Fisher from the Red Window Project suggested Call + Response, which is one of my favorite documentaries.  Over 2.2 children are sold for sex every year.  That sentence I just wrote?  The space that takes you to?  That space of rage and grief.  That space of despair- don’t hang out there.  Anger and grief are appropriate responses.  I totally get that space, and I’ve spent my share of time in that space of despair.  But, if you stop there, you’ve missed the part where you get to be a part of the solution.  Do something about it.  Justin Dillon, the director, is one of the coolest, hippest people I know of.  He’s doing something about it with this film.  You should check out what else he’s up to at Made in a Free World.  

The trailer is below.  If you’re local, I would be glad to lend it to you.  Or, you can buy it here.

What about you?  Are there documentaries about human trafficking that you would recommend?  Or have you already seen some of these documentaries?  If so, what did you do with it?  It’s ok if it’s still just a seed that’s germinating.  I would love to hear about your response is to any of these films.

 

 

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6 Responses to “Best Documentaries to Learn about Human Trafficking”


  1. […] Writing yesterday’s post took me out.  Even though I cautioned you against staying in the place of grief and anger for too long, the footage from the documentaries I watched yesterday took me to that place.  That “how can humans treat each other that way” place.  That place of imagining my sweet daughter or son in that place of being so violently treated.  The footage that floored me more than anything wasn’t even violent.  It was footage of a man talking to a woman in aftercare.  He was telling her that she was beautiful and loved.  He was telling her that God loved her and that she was immeasurably valuable.  And she just couldn’t hear it.  She sat there shaking her head no- tears streaming down her face.  When a person is treated like that, over time, they begin to think that they deserve it.  They’ve learned from their traffickers and pimps what they’re worth- and they start believing it. […]


  2. Wow, Robin. Thank you!

  3. Sherry Schwartz Says:

    If you are interested in reading a book that will give you a full understanding of the depth and breadth of human trafficking in America, I strongly recommend you read In Our Backyard, by Nita Belles. Until I read this book, I was completely unaware of the extent of human trafficking that is taking place throughout our country. It is a very tough subject to read about, but the book was easy to read.


  4. […] Yesterday’s Frustrated Farmgirl post took me out. Even though I cautioned you against staying in the place of grief and anger for too long, the footage from the documentaries I watched yesterday took me to that place. That “how can humans treat each other that way” place. That place of imagining my sweet daughter or son in that place of being so violently treated. The footage that floored me more than anything wasn’t even violent. It was footage of a man talking to a woman in aftercare. He was telling her that she was beautiful and loved. He was telling her that God loved her and that she was immeasurably valuable. And she just couldn’t hear it. She sat there shaking her head no- tears streaming down her face. When a person is treated like that, over time, they begin to think that they deserve it. They’ve learned from their traffickers and pimps what they’re worth- and they start believing it. […]


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