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Chelsea’s picks for a quick-start to becoming more informed and aware of the travesty of human trafficking and slavery in our world. Awareness leads to informed activism.

Feature Films:

TRADE: A girl from Mexico City is abducted into modern day slavery, and her brother goes on a quest to rescue her. (119 min)

Trade of Innocents: A fictional story set against the very real backdrop of the crime of human trafficking and those working to fight against it. I have not personally seen this yet (not showing in DC yet!) but have read much about the film, the actors and the producers. I can’t wait to support the mission behind this film.

Human Trafficking: When a sixteen-year-old girl from the Ukraine, a single mother from Russia, an orphaned seventeen-year-old girl from Romania, and a twelve-year-old American tourist become the victims of international sex slave traffickers, a specialized team of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) struggles to expose the worldwide network that has enslaved them.


Blood Brother: Although not specifically about human trafficking, it highlights two things… the plight of children with AIDS and orphans in India (orphans are one of the highest at risk groups for being trafficked) and the power of one person committing his life to care for them, and the ripple effects this has. (contact me for my personal story of connection to this documentary. it has radically changed our lives)

The Price of Sex: A feature-length documentary film and multimedia web series about sex trafficking. Phojournalist Mimi Chakarova investigates the post-Communism sex trade of young Eastern European women. This is the first documentary I saw on the issue of sex trafficking. It wrecked my world.

Nefarious, Merchant of Souls: A hard-hitting documentary that exposes the disturbing trends in modern sex slavery. Another film that was wildly impactful in my journey and understanding of the gravity of the issue.

Born Into Brothels: A tribute to the resiliency of childhood and the restorative power of art, Born into Brothels is a portrait of several unforgettable children who live in the red light district of Calcutta, where their mothers work as prostitutes. Zana Briski, a New York-based photographer, gives each of the children a camera and teaches them to look at the world with new eyes. (as a photographer, this movie moved me deeply)

Call and Response: CALL+RESPONSE goes deep undercover where slavery is thriving from the child brothels of Cambodia to the slave brick kilns of rural India. (89 min)

For a more robust list of films and documentaries please go HERE.


Non-Fiction Books:

Refuse To Do Nothing: Finding Your Power to Abolish Modern Slavery: Meet the faces of the new abolitionist movement: ordinary moms
who refuse to do nothing. Hear the story of how they became “Abolitionist Mamas” and joined with other women at home and around the country to fight modern day slavery. Learn your personal power in the new abolitionist movement and how anyone, no matter where you are in life, can join the movement of abolishing slavery in our lifetime. Join us as we learn and provide resources for the “Everyday Abolitionist.”

Escaping the Devil’s Bedroom: Dawn Jewell weaves the stories of individual victims with a careful examination of the realities that propelled them into prostitution in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself: At thirteen, Rachel Lloyd found herself caught up in a world of pain and abuse, struggling to survive as a child with no responsible adults to support her. Vulnerable yet tough, she eventually ended up a victim of commercial sexual exploitation. It took time and incredible resilience, but finally, with the help of a local church community, she broke free of her pimp and her past.

Fiction Books:

A Walk Across the Sun: A Novel: Two sisters are abducted into a horrific world of sex trafficking, and a stranger battles an international criminal network to attempt their rescue.

Priceless: A Novel on the Edge of the World: Daniels next assignment carries him back overseas and into the heart of Russia. Once there, Daniels is persuaded by an old friend to help save two girls from a desperate situation. Soon he becomes a key player in a dangerous campaign to rescue helpless women trapped in the sex-slave trade.

For more book suggestions, please go HERE.


Web Resources:

1. Slavery Map: A record and display of human trafficking across the globe.

2. Free2Work App: Learn how your favorite brands relate to trafficking and other labor abuses. Free2Work provides consumers with information on forced and child labor for the brands and products they love (iPhone and Android).

4. Good Guide App: A fast and easy way to find safe, healthy, green, and ethical products (iPhone and Android).

5. Slavery Footprint: A quiz that shows how everyday goods support modern day slavery.

7. Polaris Project State Map: In-depth local information and resources about human trafficking.

8. Made In A Free World App: Check in at stores, ask brands about slavery in their supply chain as you shop, and use it to encourage brands to look into where their raw materials are coming from (iPhone and Android).

9. Human Trafficking Daily Newsfeed: The latest news about human trafficking.

10. International Justice Mission Mobile App: Get instant updates, encourage field workers, connect with local justice groups and more (iPhoneAndroid and Windows).