Last week O.U.R. Founder, Tim Ballard had the opportunity to screen the movie SOLD in Santa Monica. He was invited to be part of the evening by Producers Jeffrey Brown (Academy and Emmy Award Winner) and Award-winning producer Jane Charles . Tim also participated in a Q&A after the film.
Based on true stories, SOLD is the story of 11 year old Lakshmi’s journey from a peaceful, rural village in Nepal to the gritty brothels of Kolkata, India. She risks everything for freedom. Through one extraordinary girl’s story, SOLD illustrates the brutality of child trafficking.
O.U.R. has been working in Nepal for the last year and very intensely in the last month. This girl’s story in the movie is all too common. O.U.R. Operators and Aftercare team hear similar stories from so many of the survivors they have spent time with. Nepal was already struggling, but with the earthquake last year and the recent fuel shortage, many of the people are desperate. They are also very vulnerable to becoming prey to traffickers. It is not uncommon to hear family members who sell their children in hopes of, despite what they may have to go through, the child will at least get to eat.
With a lack of education, many of the rural villagers in the hillsides fall susceptible to traffickers coming from India promising a better life and lots of money to work in India. One of the highest trafficked borders in the world is the India / Nepal border, in an area known as the Terai Region.
Every day dozens of children are trafficked across this border only to end up in the brothels of Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, or Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries. Some Nepalese children make it as far as the UK to be sold as domestic house workers. It is unbelievable that in 2016 people still own slaves in 1st world countries.
O.U.R. is working closely with local police in Nepal and also partnering with local NGO’s in the area to bring an end to child trafficking. O.U.R. will be much more active in Nepal the rest of this year with potential rescue operations in the coming months.