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.”
Repugnant.

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.
Of those:

  • 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.

1. Arms
2. Drugs
3. Slavery

With the first two, once you shoot a bullet you’ve paid for, or taken the drug – it’s done.
It’s used.

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:

1. Sex
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.’

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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

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  • 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.

Please help.

http://www.thefreedomproject.org

Deep Breath.

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