On Thursday, 26th January at 7pm, Childreach International held the premiere event of their Taught Not Trafficked event at the Byre Theatre. The event was composed of a screening of the film SOLD, followed by a panel discussion including key speakers such as Stephen Gethins (MP for North East Fife).
The film, which followed the story of Lakshmi, a thirteen-year-old girl from Nepal trafficked to a prison brothel in Kolkata, promised to be gripping, poignant and at times difficult to swallow. Indeed all my expectations of the film were not just met, but surpassed.
From the beginning of the film we form an emotional connection to the young Lakshmi, witnessing her transition from a humble life in a quiet mountain village in Nepal to being, quite literally, thrown into the grim back alleys of Kolkata. What follows is a heart wrenchingly real depiction of what happens to an approximate 32-54 girls trafficked from Nepal every day. The film tackles issues of child abuse, rape, AIDS, and also gives some insight into the stigma that is attached to girls who return to their homes after being trafficked.
Although the protagonist Lakshmi was successful in escaping her situation, many girls are not as fortunate. Childreach International aims to prevent other children from such a fate by spreading awareness of the methods of child trafficking. The organization believes that the best way to save the victims of child trafficking is to make sure they do not find themselves in the situation in the first place, and is using films such as SOLD to expose trafficking methods.
The event concluded in a panel discussion composed of four key speakers: Stephen Gethins (MP for North East Fife), Bishop of St Andrews Most Revd David Chillingworth, Professor Ali Watson of Third Generation Project and Dr Jeffrey Murer from the University of St Andrews. The panel allowed for some key questions surrounding the film and child trafficking in general to be discussed in further depth, as well as generating further discussion amongst the audience.
Overall, the event was a huge success and left its audience visibly changed. If you have not yet had the chance to see it, the film SOLD is highly recommended. For those wishing to keep up with forthcoming events or want to contribute to this cause in any way, like/follow Childreach International St Andrews on Facebook, or join the society at the Refreshers Fayre this Sunday.