Powerful Film on Human Trafficking Takes Top Honors at Film Festival

Murthy Law firm founder and president Sheela Murthy recently took time out of her busy schedule to attend a screening of a powerful new film that addresses a dire global rights issue affecting millions of young people around the world. Sold fearlessly examines the child trafficking industry, and won the award for Best Feature Film at the fifth DC Annual South Asian Film Festival (DCSAFF). The three-day event was held in Rockville, Maryland and featured the best in South Asian independent films. The MurthyNAYAK Foundation, which is a charitable foundation founded by Sheela and her husband, Vasant Nayak, served as a chief sponsor of the DCSAFF.

Sold was created with the help of some serious Hollywood star power. It was directed by Academy Award winning director Jeffrey Brown, produced by two-time Academy Award winning actress Emma Thompson, and stars several internationally known Indian actors, including Seema Biswas, Sushmita Mukerjee, and Niyar Saikia. The film is centered on Lakshmi, a 13-year-old girl growing up in rural Nepal, who is sold to an older man by her stepfather, and is eventually coerced into entering the illegal sex trafficking trade. Although Lakshmi eventually escapes the industry by the end of the film, during the post screening panel discussion, Brown revealed that the reality is far more sobering. [See Sold”, An Expose on Child Trafficking, Wins Best Feature Film Award at Fifth Annual DC South Asian Film Festival, by Geeta Goindi, The American Bazaar, 13.Sep.2016.]

Though figures vary, it is widely believed that only 10 to 30 percent of trafficking victims are able to escape the industry and the horrific conditions they must endure. “Children who are as young as 14, 15, 16 … some of these children had children, some of them have HIV/AIDS.” Brown added that the film’s producers have partnered with NGOs (non-governmental organizations), that operate locally to rescue trafficking victims and provide them with health care, education, and job training. “These kids won’t be free until they get some healing and vocational training, which we are working on to bring them,” he noted.

Following the screening of the film, Sheela also moderated in a post-screening panel discussion. While discussing the fact that illegal trafficking is a 160 billion-dollar-a-year industry, Sheela noted, “There is something wrong with society, with each and every one of us, because we have allowed this to continue by turning the other eye or not doing enough.”

Sold may be a difficult film to watch, but ignoring the sex-trafficking crisis won’t make the problem go away. Until we confront the realities of the illegal trafficking industry and the harm that is imparted on its victims, young people will continue to be brutally exploited.


Copyright © 2016, MURTHY LAW FIRM. All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.