'Sold' at SIFF: A Film About Global Slavery and Child Trafficking

It's a common adage that once you become a mother, you become a mother to every child. I have always thought the truth is even broader: Once you become a human, you become a human toward all humans.

You cannot be human and watch a film like Sold without feeling the deepest sense of outrage and desperation at the fate which befalls (which we allow to befall) some children and women in this human world of ours.

This is exactly why we need films like Sold, which is playing this month at the Seattle International Film Festival. Those of us removed from the landscapes in which the selling of people — the commoditization of bodies for dollars — happens, and is considered acceptable, need to settle into the plush seats of theaters or the privacy of our microfiber couches in order to visit those landscapes, if only for 97 minutes. This is what it will take for us to reconcile the impossibility of some girls' realities, what it will take for us to mother women and children across the globe as we mother our own carefully protected newborns.

Directed by Jeffrey D. Brown, Sold is a narrative feature film based on the acclaimed novel by Patricia McCormick. It is based on true stories, and you will feel as though you are watching a documentary though the flm is dramatized. Sold tells the story of Lakshmi, who is sold by her unwitting parents and travels from her rural childhood in Nepal to a Kolkata, India brothel named, terribly, Happiness House. 

Lakshmi is 13, the average age of the millions of girls who are trafficked globally every year. The things she is forced to do are so far from the things a 13-year-old girl should be doing, it is enough to make a human cry. And you will, for this is modern-day slavery.

Niyar Saikia gives a gripping performance as Lakshmi and by extension the millions of real, invisible girls she represents. Gillian Anderson and David Arquette add interest in supporting roles.

Sold premiered in March and has had few world showings so far; we are lucky to be able to see it at the Seattle International Film Festival. Once you do, if you are human, you will not be able to again ignore the plight of women and girls sold against their will. Next, we can take action.



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