Films on human trafficking

" The Whistleblower" (2010)

Directed by: Larysa Kondracki

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.




" Not My Life"  (2010)

Directed by: Robert Bilheimer


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."

While acknowledging that trafficking and slavery are universal crimes, affecting millions of human beings all over the world, Not My Life zeroes in on the fact that the vast majority of trafficking and slavery victims are indeed children. This fundamental truth, says the film's director, Oscar® nominee Robert Bilheimer, raises profound questions about the very nature of our civilization. "What kind of society cannibalizes its own children?" Bilheimer asks. "Can we do these sorts of things on such a large scale and still call ourselves human in any meaningful sense of the term?"


Not My Life features dignified and inspiring testimony from survivors; depictions of trafficking, exploitation, and slavery in all parts of the world including forced labor in Africa; street begging and garbage picking in India; sexual trafficking in the United States and Southeast Asia; and various forms of child enslavement and abuse in both North and South America.




"Lonely Pack" (2010)

Directed by: Justin Peach/Lisa Engelbach

Together with other children, the eleven year old Sonu lives on the streets of Katmandu. Their daily routine is a fight to survive in the chaotic capital of Nepal: always on the prowl for food, drugs, charitable tourists and what they seek most - as small boys do anywhere- is fun and adventure. The life of Sonu and his pack is shaped by hunger and violence but is also filled with childlike moments of freedom on the streets!



Forced Prostitution: Exploited, Abused and Harmed (2010)

Available only in German


The Viennese channel, W24 produced a documentary on forced prostitution and human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The documentary shows the situation of survivors of trafficking and how they were lured into an exploitative situation. Additionally different stakeholders from the anti-trafficking movement are portrayed to show their work and the full spectrum of actors.



Redlight (2009)

Directed by Guy Jacobson, Adi Ezroni and Charles Kiselyak


Narrated by Lucy L  iu, REDLIGHT is a powerful feature documentary about child sexploitation, an epidemic happening in every country around the world.

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.

Using footage smuggled out of brothels and harrowing testimonials, REDLIGHT follows the plight of several current and former child sex slaves.  Some are trying to regain entry into Cambodian society to find some semblance of normality after their horrific experiences. Other stories highlight the plight of victims who are attempting to bring the perpetrators to justice. Their torturous yet ultimately heroic battles to find witnesses and take brothel owners to court are dramatically brought to life in this topical and moving feature documentary.



Call + Response (2008)

Directed by Justin Dillon


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 2007, 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.


Music is part of the movement against human slavery. Dr. Cornel West connects the music of the American slave fields to the popular music we listen to today, and offers this connection as a rallying cry for the modern abolitionist movement currently brewing.



Taken (2008)

Directed by Pierre Morel, Written by Luc Besson


This poigant film tells the tale of an ex-CIA "Preventer" skilled in hand to hand combat who must rescue his daughter after she is kidnapped during her Paris vacation by human trafficking|sex-traffickers. Liam Neeson delivers a touching performance and once again shed light on this shameful crime that is human trafficking.



Virgin Harvest (2008)

Directed by Charles Kiselyak

A touching documentary about child trafficking and prostitution from the POV of the victims (girls and boys some as young as 3 years old). Hard hitting with incredible access. Filmed in Cambodia with real undercover footage inside operating brothels, this film exposes the plight of more then 2 million kids worldwide through the intimate yet astonishing story of some of the victims.



" The Jammed" (2007)

Directed by: Dee McLachlan


Based on actual cases from court transcripts, this movie about an unassuming woman who helps rescue three sex slaves from a brothel in Melbourne is a social thriller that was considered the best Australian film of 2007. It won a sweep of awards across the country and was instrumental in raising awareness about the dark issue of trafficking and sexual servitude in Australia.



Trapped (2007)

Directed by Anja Dalhoff

Over the past years many European countries have seen a sharp increase in the number of Nigerian women involved in prostitution. The overwhelming majority of these women are victims of human trafficking. Joy and Anna were both trafficked from Nigeria to Denmark. In this documentary Joy and Anna tell their horrifying stories and thus reveal the suffering endured by many trafficked women, as they are coerced into prostitution, constantly threatened by unscrupulous criminal networks and systematically treated as criminals rather than victims by the social authorities.


Sacrifice (2007)

Directed by Ellen Bruno

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.

Amazing Grace (2007)

Directed by Michael Apted, Written by Steven Knight

Amazing Grace, based on the life of antislavery pioneer William Wilberforce, is directed by Michael Apted (The World is Not Enough, Coal Miner's Daughter) from an original screenplay written by Academy Award® nominee Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things). The film stars Ioan Gruffudd ( Black Hawk Down)... more





TRADE (2007)

Directed by Marco Kreuzpaintner

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.



Cargo Innocence Lost (2007)

Directed by Michael Cory Davis

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.



Gate Keeper (2007)

Directed by John Carlos Frey

A true to life drama bassed on US Border Patrol and D.E.A. reports highlighting human, labor, and drug trafficking.








Modern Slavery (2007)

Directed by Thomas Robsahm and Tina Davis

An encounter with people living under extremely restricted conditions, in Mexico, Russia, Brazil and Oslo. The film is also a critical investigation of the negative consequences of neoliberal economical politics. The project examines the claim that it's in the interest of certain economical and social forces to preserve modern slavery, and that these forces are supported by corrupt authorities and indirect participation by multinational companies.




Not for Sale (2007)

Directed by Robert Marcarelli

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.




Lives for Sale (2007)

Directed by Larry Rich

A one-hour investigative documentary exposes the painful, rarely seen human side of illegal immigration - including the growing black market trade in human beings.





Sold children - Albania (2007)

Directed by Journeyman pictures

Since the 1990s, an average of one child a week has vanished in Albania. Locals suspect the children are being sold abroad. There are even claims they're being abducted for their organs. "The danger of abduction is always there", laments a school warden. He takes the threat so seriously, the school gates are manned at all times. Nasim Greka sold newborn babies for adoption in Greece. "We made maybe 20,30 deals at the most".




Daryl Hannah's human trafficking documentary (2006)

When most famous actors or actresses wear disguises, it's to hide themselves from over-zealous fans or the relentless paparazzi. But when Hollywood actress, Daryl Hannah, conceals her identity, it's because her life could be in danger. That's because Daryl is going undercover to document the disturbing truth about modern-day slavery. Experts say most of today's slaves are women and children, forced against their will to have sex with as many as 40 men per day.





Kurz davor ist es passiert (2006)

Directed by Anja Salomonowitz






All the Invisible Children (2005)

Directed by Joh Woo

Seven young freedom fighters, heavily armed, are covering ground looking for the enemy. At twenty-one their leader is the eldest. Tanza is twelve and has joined this group after witnessing the massacre of his family. While bathing in a river in the middle of the forest, trying to forget their lives as soldiers for a while, they are unaware that in a short time one of them will be dead and one will be sent to blow up a school, where in a few hours other children just like them will be arriving.





Human Trafficking (2005)

Directed by Christian Duguay

Every day, women and children are enslaved - kidnapped or sold into sex-trafficking rings. This is a tough, uncompromising drama about the brutal realities faced by some of them, and the rookie immigration agent who, with the help of her boss and his team, works to bust the ring she uncovers and get its victims to safety. This emotional tale of survival and justice is a must-see, as it exposes the horror stories that could happen in any neighborhood - including yours.






Trafficked (2005)

Directed by Luigi Acquisto

Acquisto is currently in post-production on Trafficked, a one hour documentary for SBS on the subject of sex trafficking from S.E. Asia into Australia. Trafficked tells the story of a former Australian Federal Police officer, Chris Payne's ongoing investigation into the fate of two young Thai girls trafficked to Australia: Nikki, a thirteen year old Thai girl found in a Sydney brothel in 1995, and, Phuongtong Simpalee, a 27 year old Thai woman who died in custody at the Villawood Detention centre in 2000. The film will follow Chris Payne as he investigates stories of women and children caught up in prostitution's 'trade routes' in Australia, Thailand and Cambodia. Payne is a former Australian Federal Police officer who headed a special task force formed to combat sex trafficking in the mid 1990s.



Maria Full of Grace (2004)

Directed by Joshua Marston

Maria Full of Grace" tells the tale of an impoverished 17 year old Colombian who becomes pregnant and, in need of money, signs on as a drug "mule", smuggling cocaine pellets into the US in her GI tract. An exceptional film for a low budget one man band indie with a deubting artist in the leading role, this film imparts a strong sense of been-there-done-that reality as it follows Maria from Bogota to New York where her life begins to unravel. Unusually well managed without being junked up with the usual Hollywood tawdry tinsel and situational extremes, this very human drama does more pound-for-pound than most films many times its size. Kudos to auteur Marston and company and ingenue Moreno for this interesting and enjoyable drama.



Svetlana's Journey (2004)

The film is about a 13 year old Bulgarian girl who is sold into prostitution by her adopted parents. Written and directed by Michael Corey Davis, it gives a gruesome look into the world of child trafficking. New Age Media Concepts reports that four million people around the world are victims of human trafficking, a lucrative business with an estimated annual turnover of at least 15 billion US dollars.
Contact: Belinda Bass, DEBOUCHE ENTERTAINMENT; 818-426-4227



Born into Brothels (2004)

Directed by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman

This documentary film traces the lives of several children in the Red Light district of India. The filmmaker, Zana Briski, is a New York based photographer who teaches a photography class to the children and attempts to enroll them in boarding schools in order to give them the opportunity for a better future. Most of the children, however, continue the lives that their parents had intended for them - prostitutes. Winner of the 2005 Academy Award for Best Documentary Film, Born Into Brothels, was produced and directed by New York based filmmakers Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski.



Human Cargo (2004)

Directed by Brad Turner

A look at the world of refugees, and the people who sacrifice their life to help or hinder them.





Fields of Mudan (2004)

Directed by Steven Chang

In a harrowing fictional account based on all-too-real conditions, the 2006 Academy Awards qualifier written and directed by an FSU film student tells the story of Mudan, a young Chinese girl forced into an Asian underworld of child prostitution and modern-day slavery by a brutal brothel owner. The child's only hope is her dream of a new life in America with her mother.


Sex Traffic (2004)

Directed by David Yates

A powerful new drama that weaves stories from around the world into one bold narrative, revealing how the trafficking of young women into sexual slavery is operating in cities throughout Europe, right here and right now.

At the heart of Sex Traffic is the story of two young Moldovan sisters, kidnapped and trafficked through Romania, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Italy to the dark side of London, betrayed by pimps and police, and fighting for their lives. The reverberations of their story are explosive, exposing far-reaching corruption that implicates big business in America and international peacekeeping forces in Europe alike.



Promised Land (2004)

Directed by Amos Gitai

It is night in the Sinai desert. A group of men and women keep warm around a campfire under the moonlight. The women speak Russian, they come from the East. The men are Bedouins, who normally tend their herds in the vicinity. Tomorrow, if everything goes well, they will secretly cross the border.
Tomorrow, Diana, Katia, Kristina and the others will be beaten, raped, and auctioned off. They will be passed from one hand to another, victims of an international network of trafficking in women. One night, in a club, Diana meets Rose. She asks for her help. Help, to save her from this network, which is run by Anne, Hanna, Yussuf and Hezi. Promised Land is the story of their encounter and of some sign of hope in these women's descent into hell.



Tin Girls (2003)

Directed by Miguel Bardem

A 55 minute documentary on the trafficking of girls for prostitution from Nepal to India. Tin Girls, one of the Valor Humano (Human Value) series of documentaries produced by Canal Plus, was first inspired by the magazine feature When No Means Never Again, written by Chelo Alvarez with the help of Anjana Shakya, President of HimRights, and published by Planeta Humano magazine, Spain.


The Day My God Died (2003)

Directed by Andrew Levine

In Bombay alone, 90 new cases of HIV infection are reported every hour, and the victims are getting younger: two decades ago, most women in India's brothels were in their twenties or thirties. Today, the average age is 14. Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins, The Day My God Died puts a human face on these abstract numbers as it recounts the stories of several Nepalese girls who were forced into the international child sex trade.

The Day My God Died lifts the veil of secrecy on child sex trafficking using footage from the brothels captured with spy camera technology. The film tells the stories of Gina, sold into sexual slavery at age seven, raped by 14 men and beaten with sticks and aluminum rods; Anita, lured by a friend, then drugged and sold to a brothel at age 12, where she was beaten and threatened with being buried alive; Maili, trafficked at age 19 along with her infant daughter who was seized and used as "insurance" to keep Maili from fleeing; and Jyoti, sold at age 12, raped, choked and forced to drink alcohol to break down her resistance.



Dying to Leave (2003)

Directed by Chris Hilton and Aaron Woolf

A reprise of one of last season's most significant films, Dying to Leave explores the current worldwide boom in illicit migration and human trafficking. Every year, an estimated two to four million people are shipped in containers, shepherded through sewage pipes, secreted in car chassis, and ferried across frigid waters. Others travel on legitimate carriers but with forged documents. An alarming number of these migrants end up in bondage, forced to work as prostitutes, thieves, or as laborers in sweatshops. By listening to the voices of those who pulled up their roots and risked all, the film puts a human face on what might otherwise be seen as statistical, overwhelming and remote, and reveals the circumstances that drove these migrants from their homes, the difficulties involved in their epic journeys, and what awaits them in their new world.



Lilya 4-ever (2002)

Directed by Lukas Moodysson

This Swedish film depicting the struggles of Lilja (Okshana Akinshina), a16-year-old girl living in an unidentified ex-Soviet republic. Her mother abandons her in the slums of the city to move to the United States, and she is forced to move into in a squalid apartment with only her abused 11-year-old friend, Volodya (Artiom Bogucharskij), for care or company. As the two begin to starve, Lilja turns to prostitution as a way to support herself. When Swedish businessman Andrei (Panel Ponomaryov) appears and promises to save Lilja from the slums, her situation appears to be improving, but it is only the beginning of the problems she will face.
"Lilja 4-Ever" deals with trafficking of women for prostitution, an issue which has become relevant not only in Europe, but in other parts of the world as well. In Europe women are most often transported from poorer Eastern countries to the more prosperous West, often under false pretences as shown in this film.
Contact: Maria Smith at


Trading Women (2002)

Directed by David Feingold, narrated by Angelina Jolie

Trading Women enters the worlds of brothel owners, trafficked girls, voluntary sex workers, corrupt police and anxious politicians. Filmed in Burma, China, Laos, and Thailand, 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 global community.
Narrated by Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie, 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 in China, Thailand and Burma, Trading Women follows the trade of women in all its complexity, entering the worlds of brothel owners, trafficked girls, voluntary sex-workers, corrupt police and anxious politicians. The film also explores the international community's response to the issue.
The culmination of five years of field research, Trading Women is the first film to demonstrate to viewers the relationship of the trade in drugs to the trade of women. The film dispels common beliefs about the sex trade, such as: "The problem is the parents - it's part of their culture to sell their daughters;" "The sex trade exists because of Western sex tours;" and "They sell their girls for TV's."


Cheated of Childhood - Russia (2002)

Directed by Journeyman pictures

11 year old Yuriy and his 13 year old friend Max are living on the streets of St. Petersburg. "For me, the most dangerous thing about living on the street is paedophiles," states Max. "I know a lot of people who have been abused." Despite this risk, both boys would rather remain homeless than return to their families. Max and Yuriy are just two of the millions of children thought to be living on the streets. Once homeless, many children turn to glue sniffing and become infected with HIV. The issue of street children is a relatively new problem for Russia. The collapse of communism triggered many family breakdowns, driving children as young as seven onto the streets.


Anonymously Yours (2002)

Directed by Gayle Ferraro

After risking her life and footage in Burma, Massachusetts filmmaker Gayle Ferraro returned to bring the sobering tales of Southeast Asian prostitutes to Western audiences. Often traveling to restricted areas to meet their subjects, Ferraro and her crew devised a strategy for disguising the true nature of their visits. "Our whole disguise was tacky tourists. We tried to be as obnoxious as possible everywhere we went to cover for ourselves." Despite their precautions, however, Burmese officials detained Ferraro's group twice -- each time paralyzing the filmmaking team with fear. "I literally had no feelings I was so afraid," Ferraro said of one close call, "I could barely think or talk." But she continued to film. With each interview, Ferraro gained a deeper understanding of the victims of the Myanmar sex trade and the social structures that supported it. "Its big business," she said of sex trafficking in Southeast Asia, offering an example to illustrate her point: "On this fishing coast that's shared between Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand there's six major brothels with at least 100 rooms in them. That's 600 rooms. The turnover is maybe a guy every hour, half-hour, around the clock... even if they're paying a dollar per, and they're not, that's $2,500 an hour times 24." And brothels are just one of several sources of revenue for sex traffickers. "There are hotels which are synonymous with brothels, there's tea shops -- every tea shop, restaurant, everything has a brothel in the back. You cannot operate any other way."



Bucharest Express (2001)

Directed by Chuck Portz

An American journalist, a mysterious Gypsy woman and a bookkeeper with an inside angle try to stay one step ahead of a gang of ruthless killers as they uncover the horrors of the human trafficking of sex slaves in the Balkans. Young women are being transported to Bucharest with false promises of jobs as dancers and models. Once there, they are traded for heroin, stripped of their passports and shipped to Turkey for a life of prostitution. Countries throughout the former Soviet Union provide a chilling backdrop to a tangled web of corruption, betrayal and romance as this unlikely band of heroes tries to uncover the secrets of the flesh-for-heroin trade. Join them on an edge-of-your-seat adventure with a one-way ticket on the Bucharest Express. Bucharest Express is not a documentary, but rather a hard-hitting mystery that blows the lid off the ruthless trade of young women.



Children from under ground - Mongolia (2001)

Directed by Journeyman pictures

Every night 3,000 children vanish into the manholes of Ulan Bator, seeking shelter from the bitter cold. Q: "How long have you been living here? A: Two years..." When morning comes they emerge from the stinking sewers to look for food in the sweepings along the street.



Modern Heroes, Modern Slaves (1999)

Directed by Marie Boti

Each day, thousands of women leave under developed countries like the Philippines to seek work as domestics in more prosperous places. What little money they earn they send home to their families. This crucial source of revenue to their country's economy has prompted the Philippine government to call these contract workers "modern day heroes."
Starting from the case of Flor Contemplacion, the Philippine maid hanged in Singapore for the killing of her abusive employer, this film shows the human and sometimes tragic side of this organized labor trade: failed marriages, family break ups, and exploitation and abuse at the hands of unscrupulous employers. The film also takes us to a shelter in Saudi Arabia where abused domestics seek refuge. These women will ultimately return home penniless.
The Philippine government sponsors training courses for young women to become nightclub dancers abroad, and facilitates their transportation. When it comes to human rights violations, however, the government is reluctant to pressure foreign governments for fear of losing revenue. This leaves women migrant workers vulnerable to exploitation.



Streetwise Kids - Romania (1996)

Directed by Journeyman pictures

The shadows of Bucharest hide children sniffing glue from plastic bags; intoxicating themselves dulls hunger pangs and keeps them warm. Teenager, Vali, climbs down a manhole into an underground cave where he sleeps with six other children. Rubble and worn tyres litter the ground. After being beaten up in a children's home, Vali chose a life on the street. Anca Dionese works for Save the Children and spends her nights visiting different groups of street children. She bribes them to give up glue sniffing with second hand clothes. By building up emotional relationships with them, she wins their trust.