Every year, millions of children disappear; trafficked and sold as slaves, for sex, for labor. This is happening in every country, on every continent around the world, yet this industry is largely invisible, its victims hidden. This is their story.
Based on the acclaimed and award-winning international best-seller by Patricia McCormick, SOLD tells the story of one girl who becomes a victim of human trafficking. The story is set in India and Nepal, where many such stories take place. SOLD is about an extraordinary thirteen year old girl named Lakshmi who lives in a poor village in the mountains of Nepal.
When her stepfather accepts an advance for her to work as a domestic servant in Kolkata, India, Lakshmi becomes obliged to work off the debt. This practice is common among traffickers and is known as “debt bondage.” Lakshmi goes willingly, believing she will work as a domestic and hoping to earn enough money to buy her mother a tin roof. She is trafficked across the border to India by a city woman who tells Lakshmi to call her Auntie Bimla. They embark together upon the long journey to India walking, hitch hiking, taking a bus and finally a train. At first, it seems like an adventure, but when they arrive in the big city, Lakshmi is handed over to Mumtaz, a Madam who presides over a brothel known as “Happiness House.” To her horror, Lakshmi discovers that she has been sold into prostitution.
With no means of escape or communication with the outside world, Lakshmi resists until she is duped and drugged into submission. Though she has lost her freedom and must cope with degradation at the hands of both clients and captors, Lakshmi retains her personal sense of honor and dignity. Gradually, she makes friends with other residents of Happiness House and we see that her strength, kindness and keen wits help her survive despite the circumstances.
She quickly learns the risks and dangers of working in a brothel, but soon realizes death would be better than continuing to work as a prostitute at Happiness House. Lakshmi begins to put a plan in motion, and hopes to become one of the lucky ones to break the chains and escape - but first she must be willing to risk her life.
English, 95 minutes, 2014, USA
Director: Jeffrey Brown
Producers: Emma Thompson, Jane Charles
Cast: Niyar Saikia, Gillian Anderson, David Arquette