Gillian Anderson: film Sold exposes the horror of child sex trafficking
Celebrities, Girls' education
The practice of child sex slavery has been branded as “disturbing and so ugly” by the actress Gillian Anderson.
But the X Files star is determined that the plight of 1.8 million children who are trafficked into sexual slavery each year is highlighted to a global audience.
Gillian appears in a new film called Sold – about a 13-year-old girl in Nepal sold unknowingly by her poverty-stricken parents to an Indian brothel.
Ahead of its American release on April 1, she told Thomson Reuters Foundation: “It’s always important to choose the causes that break our hearts and this, the thought of children being trafficked for sex, breaks my heart. So I feel quite empowered and impassioned.”
More than 20 million people are enslaved today – over 5.5 million of them children, according to the International Labour Organization. The global child protection network ECPAT International says the average age of a trafficked child is 13 – the same age as Lakshmi in Sold.
Child trafficking robs its victims of their fundamental human rights. They are deprived of education, proper healthcare and the opportunity to be in a safe environment with their families and other children.
The chaos in Nepal after last year’s earthquakes has meant a rise in child trafficking. Dr Tshering Lama of ChildReach Nepal recently estimated that “hundreds if not thousands of children will have been trafficked as a direct result of conditions caused by the earthquakes”.
Gillian, best known for her role as Agent Dana Scully in the hit American TV series and films, plays a photographer who joins forces with an activist group trying to rescue enslaved women and children.
She said of child trafficking: “It is so disturbing and so ugly but what’s important is that it is in our face so that we are moved to action.
“It’s a very difficult movie. It’s a difficult subject matter to talk about children being systematically raped but we need to get past that.”
A shorter version of Sold has been made, which is suitable to be shown in schools. Communities can also ask for the film to be shown at a local cinema. More details of both options is available here.
Director Jeffrey D. Brown said: “We hope Sold will focus world attention on the plight of sexually exploited children in the way a film like An Inconvenient Truth galvanised awareness for global warming.”
Emily Pasnak-Lapchick, End Trafficking Program Officer for the US Fund for UNICEF, said: “Sold humanises the issue of child trafficking. By pulling us into the world of one child who is trafficked, the film provides insight into the horrors children experience but also illustrates the resilience they have to overcome such horrible situations.”