The Atlantic slave trade was abolished 200 years ago. But there are more slaves today than ever before — as many as 23 million — and today's slave traders prey on vulnerable and innocent children. Filmed in India, Togo and Pakistan, SOLD intertwines the stories of three courageous individuals who defy death threats, carry out daring rescues and challenge powerful interests in the battle to end slavery in the 21st century.
Sunitha Krishnan, a feisty former Hindu nun, runs 17 schools for girls rescued from brothels, the children of prostitutes and HIV positive children infected through prostitution. She regularly lobbies officials to enforce anti-slavery laws and pushes police to bust-up brothels. When they don’t move fast enough for her, she organizes her own brothel raids. Sunitha wants her girls to have viable economic futures and so she teaches them how to weld and start their own small businesses.
Symphorienne Kessouagni lives in rural Togo where parents send their children to live with distant relatives when they can’t afford to feed them or pay their school fees. Many children end up in the hands of “brokers” who smuggle them across the border and sell them as slaves. Symphorienne finds these children and encourages them to escape, or negotiates the children’s freedom whenever possible. She’s also a nurturing mother figure and a tough disciplinarian to 17 former child slaves who now live with her.
Ansar Burney is an attorney in Karachi who rescues young Pakistani boys sold and sent to the Middle East to be camel jockeys. These tiny boys are strapped onto camels and forced to ride 12-14 hours a day on desert racetracks. Many die after falling off the camels during races. Ansar applies political and legal pressure to embarrass the United Arab Emirates into stopping these brutal “sporting” events and meets with some success. The UAE announces it will replace the tiny human jockeys with robots and promises to return thousands of boys to their families.
Produced by Pointy Shoe Productions, 2008-2009.