I just came back from a special screening of the film “SOLD” and it truly was the most amazing and heart wrenching movie I have ever seen. The film is based off of Patricia McCormick’s acclaimed novel and tells the story of twelve year old Lakshmi, a Nepali girl who is sold into the human/child trafficking industry and has to fight against the odds of horrific physical and verbal abuse, rape, and the loss of her own innocence in order to survive. Although Lakshmi is a fictional character, her stories aren’t. While researching the human/child trafficking industry, McCormick travelled to India and Nepal, speaking with many girls who were victims of this industry, girls who had had to go through unimaginable experiences in order to escape. The portrayal of all the characters in the film by the actors was nothing short of incredible, particularly by Niyar Saikia, who played Lakshmi. Niyar’s performance truly is something I have never seen before, as the raw emotions she puts into the character is not often seen through the work of such a young actor.
After the film, I had the honor of being able to hear the film’s producer, Jane Charles, speak about her advocacy for ending human/child trafficking across the world. Like Patricia McCormick, Jane Charles spent two and a half years in India and Nepal and met many survivors of this industry, which has unfortunately become a $150 billion industry. She has worked closely with many charities both nationally and internationally to help these victims and truly shocked me by saying that sex trafficking has even reared its ugly head here in the Albany area.
One of the major points Charles made that stuck with me was her passion for educating young people about the issue. She said, “The key to solving this problem is education, especially at a younger age. We need to educate the next generation that it is simply not okay to objectify women.” She also went on to explain that education is even more important in Nepal and India, as the chance of girls being trafficked goes down by a substantial amount if they are in school at least to the age of sixteen. Charles is working very closely with many international charities to rebuild schools in these countries and to bring this film to its students in order to educate them about the serious issue of sex trafficking.
“SOLD” will be released on iTunes and Netflix in January/February, so if you have the chance to see it, please do! Lakshmi’s story will truly resonate with you, as it has done with me.
Have you read the book/ seen the movie? Let me know in the comments!
Julia Lowney- Student Intern