Trade of Innocents – The Freedom Project
May 4, 2013
I will be short. But it will not be sweet.
On Wednesday night, I went to a screening of a film called The Trade of Innocents.
It stars Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino and seasoned actor Dermot Mulroney.
Inspired by real events, it explores the gargantuan problem of trafficking girls – in this case, in Cambodia.
Yes, it’s a Hollywood movie but no, it was not picked up by the mainstream cinemas.
*Small rant moment. At a recent outing to the cinema (after a very long absence) the movie trailers on offer were for:
Iron Man #3 – Gi Joe – Star Trek #2 – Die Hard #278 – Man of Steel.
Lots of larger-than-life, über men, being heroes, surrounded by the same super-dooper special effects and gratuitous shots of women in little clothing.* Rant over.
I understand that a movie like the Trade of Innocents is not a big hit with people wanting to escape – but aren’t we endangering our ability to see past the whopping pile of stinking special effects?
Our world is in trouble.
So I went along to this screening, thanks to Liz and Mike Newton-Brown, a married couple who started The Freedom Project a few years ago, and help trafficked children. Actually help.
I met them at the screening of it’s a girl last year and they are truly inspirational.
After the film ended, we were shrouded in dread.
It was sombre in there; silent except for the sound of some sniffling noses being quietly cleared, from crying.
I can’t get out of my head the scene where a sweaty and pasty American tourist says he wants a guaranteed virgin – that he is willing to go as low as a 5 or 6 year old, but that his preference is a 7 year old, “For a month’s use.”
I felt sick as I saw girls, the same age as my daughters, being sold for sex – girls who, in the scheme of things, were just unlucky enough to have been born over there, instead of over here…even though it happens here too – albeit on a smaller scale.
Mike and Liz then spoke some facts with us.
A Hollywood movie is one thing…but the following just drove it all home:
800,000 – 4 million men, women and children are trafficked each year.
They don’t really know the exact figures.
- 80% are women
- 50% are children
- The average age of girls trafficked, is 11; the average age of boys, is 12.
- 75% of people sold into slavery, are sold for sex.
A child is sold into slavery every 30 seconds. Every. Thirty. Seconds.
It’s the fastest growing crime in the world.
With the first two, once you shoot a bullet you’ve paid for, or taken the drug – it’s done.
But a human being can cost as little as $40 and once owned, is used over…and over…and over…
The three areas of trafficking are:
2. Slave Labour
3. Forced to kill – like child soldiers. These are the hardest to get to and is the worst, as it can include all three unimaginable horrors.
I don’t know what those statistics do to you, but this has profoundly affected me.
The gravity. The insurmountable size of it.
As I walked to my car that night, I cried.
Question #157: What can be done?
Well, The Freedom Project is doing something. It’s big and they need help.
They’re working in two areas at the moment.
1. Burma – a drug ravaged and fuelled area using child soldiers.
They recently smuggled 10 children into China – out of slavery.
They have saved and are currently looking after 150 children – providing housing, food and education. On their Facebook Page they posted the following image with this caption:
‘Seriously, this little guy’s smile is SO heartwarming! A precious soul we are caring for – now in a life of FREEDOM.’
Look at his face.
2. Philippines – An area in the south which wants to be an independent Islamic state, also using child soldiers to fight this battle.
The Freedom Project wants to build 50 schools. They’ve built 2 so far.
The fil had a quote that said: “They have a massive network – we need a bigger one.”
So that night I decided to join the network:
- I bought a t-shirt
- I will be donating to help them
- And I have spread some awareness through this post – even if only to a few.
And it doesn’t matter what you do – or what channels you do it through – every tiny bit helps; whether it’s to save one child or a thousand…or dare we dream more?
I leave you with this trailer for a documentary that we were shown before the screening of Trade of Innocents.
It’s called Nefarious: Merchant of Souls – and it focuses on the selling of women.
It has won over 24 Film Festival Honours and can be bought on DVD on their page, HERE.