SOLD Screening in Tobago Today

Published: Thursday, February 1, 2018

The recent screening of SOLD, a movie dealing with sex trafficking, drew a packed house at MovieTowne Port-of-Spain on Monday. The screening was the first of three events being put on by the non-profit organisation Changing Cases (CC) as part of a campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking in T&T.

Juanita Headley Guardian Article

CC CEO and founder Juanita Headley said while she was glad that a lot of people had turned out to watch the movie, she was disappointed that people had not remained afterwards to engage with the panel which had been convened to discuss the subject matter of the movie.

“For people to leave not being educated, they’ve left sad or heartbroken or disturbed but not being educated any further on the issue, or thinking it’s just happening in India and not happening here, but of course it’s happening here, just in a different way to what we see in the movie. It’s not just about entertainment, it’s not just a movie to watch, you come here to be educated, a movie is entertainment, you can’t be educated by yourself, you need to discuss the things you’ve seen and the things that are happening in the country.”

SOLD tells the story of Lakshmi, a 13-year-old girl whose family is tricked into sending her from Nepal to India to supposedly work as a domestic, but she instead ends up in a brothel where she is drugged and raped. The movie takes the viewer through some of the stages in her journey, including her discovery of a sort of family inside the brothel, including a young boy who teaches her to write, and her eventual escape to safety. The story is derived from an international bestselling novel by author Patricia McCormick and is based on true accounts. The film was shocking to some in the audience, who could not understand why the people around the brothel did nothing to help the girl. Others were driven to tears by the story, especially when the girl was able to evade the guards at the

brothel and importantly, tell the authorities how to rescue the other girls and women. Still others were shocked by the brutality portrayed as well as the glimpse into what happens in a brothel.

The panel featured speakers and activists from the Global Initiative against Human Trafficking, the Caribbean Committee Against Sex Crimes, Womantra, the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, UWI, the Alliance for Justice and Diversity and security consultants.

The topics covered included the types of human trafficking present in T&T and how these differed from what was shown in the film, the persons most likely to be affected by trafficking, the 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, socialisation, the need for sensitivity in dealing with trafficking victims, and the signs to look out for in terms of people who are being trafficked as well as traffickers who are trying to lure persons into being trafficked.

The panelists advised audience members to be aware of the special law enforcement units which were involved with the fight against trafficking in T&T, including in the Counter- Trafficking Unit, the Children’s Authority and Childline.

Changing Cases wasfounded by Headley, a British-born, licensed volunteer NY attorney who travels the world to do unpaid, volunteer mission work. Her website describes it as an international organisation “dedicated to the eradication of homelessness and sexual exploitation through educating and empowering the general public on human trafficking, creating safeguarding tools for children, researching legal issues, and assisting in investigations and rescue planning.”

Headley volunteers fulltime in the Washington DC and New York areas.

Her projects are based primarily in the Philippines and India, but many of the educational initiatives are focused in New York, Washington DC, Trinidad, Tobago and London, England.

One of her main ambitions is to gather funds to build an orphanage in the Phillipines for human trafficking survivors.

Headley thanked Brian Nothnagel for his commitment to the cause and the SOLD event; Lisa Sadler, who is hosting the three MovieTowne events; and Oliver Joseph for his support and assistance.

This is Headley’s third visit to T&T since 2017.

She will be giving talks on trafficking to various schools, churches and other organisations across both islands.

(Paula Lindo)


Article taken from Trinidad and Tobago Guardian: