Have you ever seen a movie that changes the way you view the world? The kind that opens your eyes to something you never knew existed? I often avoid these films. I go to the cinema to be entertained, not to be shocked into forcing an issue upon my conscious. This film was a little different though…
On Tuesday evening I headed to Leicester Square to see the UK Premiere of Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, a fast paced, hard-hitting documentary about human trafficking. I took my seat nervously. As I looked around the cinema I wondered how many of my fellow audience were as apprehensive as I was. The looks on their faces confirmed I wasn’t the only one who was caught between the excitement of the ‘premiere’ and the building feeling that this wasn’t going to be easy viewing. (scroll down for the trailer)
The film started up, and we were introduced to Benjamin Nolot; director, producer, writer. He’d barely finished sharing his vision for the movie before we whisked into a 90 minute journey through Moldovan grooming houses to the bright-lights of Las Vegas, via the red-light district in Amsterdam.
This film isn’t just a browsing of the key stats and facts about the fasted growing crime industry. It’s a hands-on, grimy, honest, explorative piece of journalism that takes a hold of you and doesn’t let go until you fully grasp the horrific circumstance that the 27 million slaves worldwide are faced with daily. I was right, it wasn’t an easy watch but it was an incredible film and a brilliant eye-opener. The documentary is top-notch and one of the best resources I’ve come across for raising awareness.
You might think I’m praising the film just for its message and motives, but it’s actually a brilliantly written and creatively directed feature that covers all bases and has a clear structure and narrative. ‘Entertaining’ is obviously the wrong word, but it is certainly gripping as you see Benjamin and the film crew heading to the epicentre of trafficking in Eastern Europe.
Watching it was not easy. Deciding that something MUST be done to stop sex-trafficking was. I could write the words ‘must-see’, but they don’t go far enough. There are 2.8 million prostitutes in Thailand, 800,000 are children. 10% of the WHOLE population of Mondolva have been trafficked. In Cambodia a night with a (trafficked) child prostitute costs $3.
At the end of the evening several UK based charities held an interactive panel on the subject, and advised three key action points to help stop trafficking: Pray, donate and raise awareness. Nefarious: Merchant of Souls is an incredible way of spreading the word. You can get a hold of a copy here.
As I left the cinema I was haunted by the words of William Wilberforce:
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.”