Stopping Traffic (2017) - full transcript

Stopping Traffic explores the pervasive reach of sex trafficking, especially of children in the U.S. and worldwide. Through commentary by victims and activists and investigations into practices in the U.S. and abroad, the film traces insidious links among child sexual exploitation, pornography, social media, and sex trafficking. It calls on the viewer to join the movement to end sex trafficking.

- [Man] You want to
start somewhere or?

- [Woman] Well first
just introduce yourself
as the author,

what has led you to this
time and what you're doing

and then we'll take off
with questions later.

- Sure [clears throat].

Yeah, I've been having
sex since I was four.

My first sex act I was
engaged in was to watch

my father put bread and
water in my mother's vagina

and I was engaged
in an oral act.

They talk about
the impact on a child

and that's true it does it

but it's not the impact that
is necessarily felt as a child

because you're incredibly
resilient it's when you wake up

30 years later and you
realize what was done to you.

And that your life is in
total disarray because of it

and it all tracks back
to a series of events

and things that were
done to you not by you.

It's not the breaking
of the life as young

because it is,
it's having to deal with

the consequences
of it in adulthood.

[dramatic music]

- [Woman] I grew up in
Thailand so I'd seen

sexual exploitation and all
these things growing up.

- The second largest criminal
enterprise in the world.

- [Man] It takes a lot to shock
me, we'll say it that way.

And to see it rampant,
it literally just
makes you revolted.

- I think she got aroused
watching him beat me and

he got aroused in watching
her engage me sexually.

- There was one boy, they
wanted him to work as a beggar

but he didn't look pitiful
enough so they cut off both

his arms and then set him
on the side of the road

so people would feel sorry
for him and give him money.

That's when I decided I wanted
to fight human trafficking.

- [Man] You get over there
and they're bringing these

10-year-olds into their rooms
and, oh, that must be somebody

that's taking care of their
boots and no, they ain't.

Yeah, they're taking care
of 'em, but not in that way.

You know, it floors you.

- If you take a young boy of 12

and he is anally raped
by 30 or 40 men,

and then he's made
to kill his mother

by inserting barbed wire
in her vagina repeatedly,

somewhere in that process
his soul is broken.

[speaking Spanish]

- And I think that is the real
legacy of child sexual abuse,

and the horrendous thing
which is sexual-trafficking.


It's pretty fucked up.

[somber acoustic guitar music]

- What's cool about this film
is that we actually really had

no idea what we
were doing. [laughs]

We were just moved by
a vision, we were just moved

by the movement, we were
just moved by the idea

that we can possibly make
a difference and an impact

and raise awareness and inspire
the youth to take action.

You know, this is a
non-profit film, I'm a monk,

and so there's no personal
gain for me, or for our center.

The gain is impact,
reach, awareness.

People can possibly change.

And so during
the research phase,

searching for
people to interview,

it was a scary process,
well at least for me.

I think the others were good
with sending an e-mail but,

for me to approach
these organizations
and high-level people

and non-profits like UNICEF,
it's kind of intimidating.

I introduce myself, like "hey,
I'm a nun, I'm a US veteran,

and I'm directing this
film to help raise awareness

on sex-trafficking by
inspiring the youth movement."

And all of them were just like,

"yes, it's all about the
youth, let's do this."

We really went into this
project with no expectations.

All we wanted to understand
was what sex-trafficking was

and how we can be of help by
raising awareness of this issue

so we were inspired to travel
to the Philippines, Mexico,

and New Orleans
and even locally,
Dallas to meet the heroes

of the movement but it turns
out what we were initially

looking for was
completely different.

We just wanted to know
what sex-trafficking was,

and we thought it was
pretty straightforward,

but really it turned out
to be something completely

different and we had
a bunch of misconceptions.

- [sighs] This is
a difficult question.

And in fact, historians can
be useful in this process.

- A lot of us, we think
that ended 200 years ago

with the Emancipation
Proclamation and
absolutely did not.

- A recent work by Joseph
Miller called The Problem

of Slavery as History
encouraged historians and others

to talk less about slavery
and more about slaving.

When we use the word slavery,
we're conjuring an institution

and an institution that
most people associate with

chattel slavery, with the
transatlantic slave trade,

these kinds of things,

and that institution did in
fact die in the United States.

But if we look at
slaving, that is the ways

of maintaining unfreedom,
commodifying the body,

all of the practices that
really make up the constitutive

experience of what it
means to be enslaved,

then slaving certainly
doesn't stop, it maintains,

it morphs and it continues.

[somber music]

- Look, I mean, it's a tough
sell to a lot of people because

it's a subject matter that
a lot of people don't want to

deal with, it's just
kind of uncomfortable.

Well I think the missing
piece for me was the scale of

this crime, whether it's
20, 30 million people a year

worldwide and it's
like a huge industry.

- I've been working
in this field

for almost 25 years already.

Because the victims are
really younger and younger.

The youngest victim that
we cater in this shelter

is a one-year-old girl,

sold to sex, cyber-sex.

- Down in a lot of
South-American countries,

I've been involved with
some guys that do rescues

from sex-traffickers and one
of the guys goes down there,

he's involved in a great
organization, a couple of them

I know and they go down
there and they act as

people coming down to buy girls.

American real-estate moguls
coming down to buy girls,

and they set up the people,
they get a big suite in a hotel

and they do deals
with the local cartels.

And it's simply a spreadsheet.

The guy brings in a spreadsheet.

He says "what age girl
do you want to buy?"

"If you want to buy a
12-year-old girl, it's going to

"$20,000 because that's how
much money she will make me.

"If you want to buy a
16-year-old girl, and I've had
her for

"four years, well you can get
her for three or four grand."

And they've got the whole thing
worked out, it's a business.

And it's a business
based on prostitution

that's really
enabled by tourism.

I've got some great friends
involved in recovery on that end

and they do a fantastic job,
but those guys will tell you

because of the level
of depravity they see,

for every 10 girls they rescue,
they're leaving hundreds

if not thousands behind.

That next week, another American
tourist, male or female,

is going to be down
there demanding to
buy children for sex.

- Almost more than half
of my life doing this.

I'm always running there and
there, rescue in the port,

in the airport, anywhere.

It doesn't stop.

It just continue.

And there's a time
come that I said,

"it will never stop."

[ominous atmospheric music]

[somber piano music]

- Parents try to find
different ways of survival,

but also finding ways out,

for their children.

I think, unfortunately many
parents do sell their children

cold-heartedly, but many
parents are also fooled

into believing that these
children are moving onto

a better future, if you like.

Very few children here it
seems are actually kidnapped,

taken off the street and
then sent for trafficking.

They are actually handed
over by their parents

one way or another.

But these are small kids
being told to carry out

sexual acts with themselves
or with another child.

Of course it's abuse, yeah.

And so there is a twisted
mindset, I think, among parents

who maybe don't want
to admit or realize

that they are actually
committing a crime and that they

are allowing abuse to
happen to their children.

- These boys, a lot of them
were from up-country Thailand,

where they didn't even
speak mainstream Thai,

they spoke different dialects,
or they'd come from Cambodia,

Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia
different countries
and they'd just be taken.

The traffickers, they'd
go to their home towns,

and they'd tell the parents,
"listen, you can't afford

"to feed your kids, we can
give your kid a job in Bangkok.

"He'll work in a restaurant,
he'll wash dishes,

"he'll make maybe
5,000 baht a month.

"We'll send some of
that money back to you."

And these parents,
they don't have a choice.

They can't feed their kids,
so they send them and then,

of course, these kids
don't work in restaurants.

They're either
as male prostitutes

for gay men in Thailand or
they're put on the streets

as beggars, or they're
even made to steal.

So those are the sort of
situations that these boys

are coming out of
and they're so young,

some as young as four-years-old.

Four to sixteen was the
ages at this school.

- People know that they
can get vulnerable people

so they kidnap them, literally.

And they take them by force
to work in fields or in drugs,

or in criminal actions,

or in sexual-exploitation.

- If this is all you
experience day to day,

then you don't know
of anything else.

If you're expecting to
be treated a certain way,

if you're expecting the only
form of affection to come

through sexual contact,
then if you want to be touched

at all, then you'd behave
in a certain way and you

receive that human touch
through sexuality, then that's

what you go looking for
'cause we all need touch.

I think if you're brought
up in an environment

and you don't
know it's different,

then you don't know that
there's something else out there

that's different, so you
don't actually see yourself as

a victim of trafficking unless
it's happened later in life.

If it's happened early,
or abuse is early,

then that's all you ever know.

So there's no reason to cry
out, I know that sounds odd but,

if you're 16 and you've been
having sex since you were four,

then those 12 years are the
only memories that you have.

They would never know that
there was a life outside that.

[somber atmospheric music]

- You know, the most hurtful,
most traumatic experience

a child could have of both
physical and sexual abuse

happens in the home
by their own parents.

- In an article I just read
by a woman that was engaged by

I think it was the FBI
that they're involved in the

investigation of child
pornography in America.

She was encouraged by
a friend to turn the volume down

on the videos when she watched
it and she decided not to.

So she would turn the
volume up and she said

the haunting thing
that was for her is that

not one of these
children made a sound.

One case there was a man,
a father, a step-father

videoing having sex with his
five or six-year-old daughter,

videoing on a handy cam
while he's penetrating her.

And this little girl,
her eyes glazed over,

and she looked away and
didn't make a sound.

And the woman said
that that was the most

horrendous part of
the entire thing.

Somehow they felt it
was okay to engage with

a sexual act with a child.

So I wonder what they had
done to get to that point.

Like, how can you, as
a man, I don't understand how

a pre-pubescent child

could bring any form
of sexual satisfaction.

There's gotta be a level
of brokenness and depravity

that's happening at some level.

Kids, when they're
constantly abused...

A child gets in a place
where it's trying to survive,

and it'll do anything
it can to survive.

- One of the things
that we know is that

most women who end up
trafficked were severely abused

either sexually or physically
when they were children.

We now know that early
trauma affects the brain,

and we also know that if your
brain is suffering from trauma

you will become a vulnerable
teenager and that is when

young women are recruited
into sex-trafficking.

Once young women
have quote-unquote

hooked up with
a trafficker or a pimp,

then very often force is
used and coercion is used

and that is what makes
it into sex-trafficking.

So you might be lured into the
arms of a potential boyfriend

who turns out to be a
pimp by the promise of,

"oh, we're gonna
be staying in hotels,

"we're gonna go to discos,
we're gonna do drugs,

"you're gonna have great
clothes," and that then very

quickly becomes
something quite different.

- There is a consensus
that something like this,

sex-slavery, sex-trafficking
is only happening

in third world countries where,

people maybe don't necessarily
care, they turn a blind eye,

which is completely untrue.

There are cities across
the US where it is

a daily basis issue
and living in Los Angeles,

it is one of the main hubs.

A lot of towns along
the border of Mexico,

it's very easy to get girls
and put them right into Mexico

and then move them
wherever they need to go.

It's a very lucrative
business for those,

that take children and
take women and take men.

It's a $32-billion-a-year

and the average cost
for a slave is $90.

So there's quite an uneven
balance there monetarily.

The US is one of
the top countries

where these slaves come from.

- I find this all the
time, that people say,

"this is a problem outside
of Houston, this is a problem

"outside of Texas, outside
of the United States."

This is a much bigger problem

than what you might
imagine it to be.

It's not just something that
happens in other places.

That indeed it's happening
here and I think there are many

who would say demand, because
of our affluence, is greater

in the United States than
in almost any other place.

People want to make money
with this industry,

and the place where there's
a lot of money is here

in the United States
and so whether they're

domestic girls or
international girls,

trafficking is here with
us in the United States.

[melancholic piano music]

- Of course I was getting
stares from a bunch of people

while walking in the Red Light
District, like I'm wearing

white so it's definitely like
I wasn't going undercover

or anything and so, for them
to look and be cautious,

and then in my mind I'm just
trying to say some mantras,

trying to say some
really good sounds

and send out some prayers
for the girls that,

if by chance their soul
would hear me, like,

"hey, stay strong, fight,
escape, do whatever it is

"you need to do to get out,
people are ready to help you."

And all I could do
was send those thoughts

as I'm walking down the strip.

You know, it's just so,

it's such a different way of
life, there's girls selling

their body and then there's
me, a monk. [chuckles]

It was definitely an
interesting experience because

they're curious, like
"what are you doing there?"

I just hope that
they found some peace.

[Namokar mantra in
Sanskrit language]
[melancholic harp music]

[muffled chatter
in foreign language]

[speaking Spanish]

[shouting in foreign language]


[chatter in foreign language]

- Unless we're prepared
to look at the darkness

within our own soul,
and then have a look

at the condition in our
world that caused it,

then we're never going to be
able to progress and grow.

- A lot of this is just
ignorance, I think.

People just don't know,
and they don't want to know.

I think that's what's at the
root of a lot of these problems

that people don't
have enough compassion

for other human beings.

I think that's what
has to be changed.

If you really knew that girl,
if somebody knew what she

went through and everything,
I'm sure there's no way

this guy would want to pay
and have sex with her.

Right? I don't think so.

He'd probably want to
take her outta there

and beat the hell outta
those guys, you know?

[siren wails]

- We've got supply, if there
wasn't a demand for it,

there would be no supply for it.

So again, in order for us
to address the issue of

sexual-trafficking, it's not
just a matter of rescuing girls

that have been kidnapped or
boys that have been kidnapped.

At some point you have
to ask the question,

"what has happened to us,

"that we actually
crave and desire that?

"What happens to us
as men and women that

"that's what satisfies us
and makes us feel complete

"in a very intimate way?"

And I think only when we
start to answer that question,

do we ever have a hope of truly
stopping sexual-trafficking.

- How do we stop guys
from saying and thinking,

"it's okay for me to go
out and buy these girls?"

So part of the way that we
stop demand is you change

the culture, it's sort of this
idea of "boys will be boys,"

and when you think
of your average buyer,

I think people sometimes
think that they're pedophiles,

or they're people that are
specifically after girls,

but I think what we see
more than anything is that

these are men who want young
women, and they don't know

whether they're 15 or 21,
but they want these young women,

and it becomes very easy for
them and these are guys that

anything from middle-class
and above, but also sometimes we

see in these Latino cantinas

that the average salary is
not very high with some of

these people, so I think
it's a broad spectrum of these

men that are buying these girls.

But the common denominator
for these men is that they feel

like it's very easy
for them to buy a girl

and have quick sex, basically.

And so we're seeing this
time and time again that

if we're gonna end demand,
it's all about making
it scarier,

making it harder and sort
of eliminate a culture where

it's okay to do this.

It's always a gamble.

Is it worth a gamble to go
online and buy this girl

when you might be arrested?

Most men would say it's
not worth a gamble,

but when you live
in a city where,

if you gamble you always win,

and when you gamble you're
never going to be arrested,

a place like Houston,
you're gonna go
gamble more often.

You're going to buy
sex more often,

if you feel like there
are no repercussions

to you buying young women.

- Unfortunately, some people,
to them ignorance is bliss

and they don't want to
know because it's
tough stuff to know.

It doesn't leave you and so
they would rather just go on

about their merry day and
sadly that's very prevalent in,

you know, just in general.

People don't want to know

the reality of what's going on
behind closed doors in their

communities and across the
nation and all over the world.

It's a hard thing to talk about.

- The problem with
the problem with sex,

the problem with child
sexual-abuse for boys and girls,

is that it's all taboo,
can't talk about it.

You're not supposed to talk
about those dirty topics.

One in five girls are assaulted.

Boys are assaulted, too.

And especially with the way
society treats men, men can't

even express themselves,
they just hold their stuff in.

And sometimes in
crazy cases the victims

become the victimizers
and you'll hear that story.

And so we have to think bigger,
we have to raise our voice

to say it's not okay,
enough is enough.

- It's a taboo,
it's something that we

don't want to talk about.

And I think this is also where
gender roles are coming in.

Men are not willing to
talk about the extent

of which they have
been victimized,

whether they've been
victims of trafficking,

or whether they've been victims
of male-on-male violence.

We don't exist in a world
where young boys can stand up

and say, "hey, I'm
being sexually-abused."

We're beginning to make
a little bit of inroads

with bullying and I hope that
that will create an atmosphere

in which more male
victims can come forward.

- Well at first it made
me really mad to know

that I lived in this
country for 14 years

and I'd never even
heard of this.

And if it's such a big
crime, it's affecting

27-million people,
why aren't we talking about it?

So that made me really mad,

and then it made me want to
do something about it.

- At the Center of Hope there
were 43 girls and I just heard

from the director
yesterday, now there's 50.

The numbers shouldn't
be increasing,

they should be decreasing.

[somber acoustic guitar music]

- Technology has
made it very easy

on the trafficking industry.

It's made it very easy for those

that want to buy a young girl.

You only need to
go on your computer,

and probably faster than
a pizza can be delivered here,

we could have a young girl
delivered to your home.

I think that social media and
technology is really sort of a

driver in terms of
this explosive growth
that we're seeing.

- A lot of things that are
trending with the new technology

are webcams, cyber-sex,


Guys are making money,
girls are making money,

from putting children
in front of a webcam,

and there are these perverted
people around the world that

are like, "yep, I want to
watch a little Asian kid."

- You're talking about the
commodification of bodies,

the consumption of bodies,
and these are being moved along

the same networks of
capitalist exchange that are

transferring other goods.

- There's no profile of white,
black, Latino or Asian who's

behind this, 'cause it's
happening all across the board.

And sometimes it's guys
that you would think,

they should really be spending
this money on their family,

but they're taking this
money and they're spending it

on a woman.

I think there are lots
of examples of guys
that have become

addicted to this, that this
is something they do a lot,

and you see this through
some of the review sites

where it's the same guys
that are doing this,

it's sort of become a hobby
or something with them.

But you see plenty of
other guys that do it

once or twice a year, you see
guys who do it on vacation,

but I think when
we're talking about

some of these Texas
cities though,

it's not happening because
people are doing vacations

or business trips, it's
happening because it's easy.

- Each person that's
a victim of human-trafficking

is a person, they're someone's
daughter, someone's sister

or someone's mother
or someone's son,

'cause boys, they're
trafficked as well,

and we need to see
them that way.

We need to stop
thinking of the statistic.

27 million is a big number,
but we need to break that down

and stop seeing it as 27
million, some huge big number.

We need to think of that
as 27 million human beings,

a Kathy, a Betty, an Amir,
a Daniel, human beings,

and once we see it that way,

we are not gonna be able to
tolerate this and we will,

as a direct result of
realizing that our sisters

and our brothers and our
children are being tortured

and raped in these
terrible ways,

then we're gonna do something.

- I have a friend,
the mother of Lizette Soto,

nine-years-old, she disappear,
and everything indicated

that she was sold
to Americans in a yacht.

So that girl could be the
woman that you are buying,

and you are so selfish because
the parents are dead in life

crying every night,

praying to God that their
daughter will appear.

So any time we are so selfish,

and we don't think of others,

we make a lot of
pain in this world.

[speaking Spanish]

- When it's personalized,
when you encounter

a survivor's narrative,
it's emotionally impactful.

But what do we do with
that emotional reaction?

One of the things that I
find that a lot of American

students react is they
immediately want violence,
in a way.

There's something about
the way our culture works

that the solution to every
problem is some sort of military

intervention or some sort
of law-enforcement crackdown

and some sort of
use of violence.

So what I try to show students
is that the ways in which

these interventions
often exacerbate
problems of trafficking

and we've gotta look at
the more structural issues

of poverty if we want to
actually make a difference.

- Poverty and trauma
and drug-addiction

create opportunities
that are being exploited

by traffickers.

Some women are
snatched on the street,

I don't want to discount that
narrative, but it is not

what happens to 99% of women
who end up being trafficked.

I see a lot of panhandling as
a form of human-trafficking,

and we see that
all over the world.

Those who are weakest,
and women included,

become targets for traffickers.

I think when you begin
to lift the veil

that exists around
the trafficking women
in our society,

then it becomes scary.

[ominous chord]

- There's a line in Fight Club.

Edward Norton goes loose on
a blonde-short-haired kid

in the film and
the protagonist Brad Pitt,

his alter-ego says
"why did you do that?"

He says, "I just wanted
destroy something beautiful."

And unfortunately there's
a group of people in our society

that great joy in destroying
something beautiful,

and there's nothing more
beautiful than the smile

of a little boy
or a little girl.

[somber piano music]

[speaking Spanish]

[playful chime music]

- I was young when it
happened, old when he left.

He came when it rained.

He said "lie still, hold still.

"I'll do it, don't
struggle, no one will know.

But they can all tell,
they see it, they know it.

I'm defiled, soiled,
smeared like excrement

on a sacred altar.

He came telling me
it would make me a man.

He came telling me
if wouldn't last long.

He came telling me
it wouldn't hurt.

Then why does it still ache?

Why does it never stop?

I lie awake pretending to
sleep, hating the nights,

dreading the dreams.

Puddles in the corner
of my soul.

Fearing the rain,
longing for sunshine.

- I'm kind of embarrassed to
say that up until being 27,

I had never heard of
human-trafficking before.

The first glimpse I got was,

my family still has a lot of
family at home in Vietnam,

in Vietnam, your neighbor
could be your cousin,

so I've got the cousins, right?

On Facebook, I would see the
cousins, I would send pictures.

Send them clothing, they
would send me pictures of

themselves styling up the
clothing, it was really cool

and everything and then one
particular cousin of mine,

she was actually a neighbor
to my mom when my mom was

younger in Vietnam, she
started styling the clothing

very promiscuously, and so I,

picked up on it and the next
time I traveled to Vietnam,

I started to hang out with
her a little bit more.

So I said,
"where do you hang out?"

"Show me where you'd go" and
she'd take me to these coffee

shops where right off the bat
what I noticed was a lot of

really sexy-dressed young women,

and a lot of American guys.

Found out that
she was working there,

she was tending to
the men there,

and later when I asked
her why she worked there,

she said that it was
a deal made by her uncle

and that she couldn't
get out of it.

She was so afraid to
tell me all of this

because of what
her uncle could do.

So I looked into it and
I realized that this
is the thing

that's called sex-trafficking,

and that there's so many
different angles to it.

Like that's just one story.

I met girls that were,

let's see, from
nine to thirteen,

who had had sexual
encounters with on average

about 20 to 25 men a night.

I also met women who,

who had been raped and then
would get pregnant from

men, the clients of the brothels
and then they would have to

abort the child but because
it's a sin to abort a child

in Thailand and also with their
faith, they would then have

to take the fetus and lay
it outside of the doorway

of the brothel just to kind of
ask for forgiveness for sins.

I met young girls in,

shelters in Vietnam
who had scars

all up and down their arms just
to mark who they belonged to

and just watching them sit
and sift their shirts and,

just feel so inadequate with
their own skin that they're in

was like, it's just disgusting.

- A lot of people have been
assaulted, molested or raped

in this world and a lot of
people are getting raped

every single day.

They're getting raped
30 to 40 times a day,

and someone's just
countin' some $100 bills,

and just smiling and gambling
and drinking and doing drugs.

But you know what
it's like to be raped?

What's rape?

Rape is, I can't
even define rape.

Rape is just wrong.

Rape is, you kill
a person inside.

You make them dead.

And can you imagine when
you're being trafficked,

you're dying 30 to
40 times a day.

Your soul is being
totally ripped apart.

Your sense of aliveness,
your sense of identity,

your sense of your
own inner-power is
ripped away from you.

Imagine that.

And it's going on all the time.

Every 30 seconds someone's
being trafficked right now.

Someone's being raped right now.

Someone does not have a voice.

[woman speaks in
foreign language]

[speaking Spanish]

[somber piano music]

- I think the saddest part
is also some of these kids

are so desensitized with
knowing that, like there's the

women that are aware
of being ashamed,

okay that's one thing, but
then there's kids who actually

don't know that
they're working for

mafia-type guys in Thailand

or in their circumference and
that they just think they're

doing right for their families,
so they're walking around

with menus of women on
what you can do with them,

how these women can service
you, how these little boys

can lay with you and they'll
just run after you in

the streets of these countries
trying to sell because this

is their job and they feel
like they're doing good

because of whoever
they're answering to.

I would see grown men jump
right into cabs with little boys

sitting on their lap, I've
seen men play with little boys.

It takes everything
to not go and just

want to claw these
people's faces out,

but that's not the answer.

Going in on one disgusting
person is not going to save

the bigger issue, so,

those are some of the images
in my mind that will never

leave until I could
do everything I can to

put a stop to human-trafficking.

- My family's life on the
outside was very together.

Very prominent, very
good, highly educated,

very influential people.

I never thought that my
childhood was abnormal,

until I was 45 and it
struck me that it wasn't.

I was never meant to
start having sex at four,

but I had sex at four.

I had to crawl up
some lady's kaftan,

and perform oral sex on her.

You know, if I didn't
do a good job,

there was consequences for it.

I was beaten for it or punished,

or I was rewarded
with being allowed

to participate in an activity.

Or taken to a party where,

I was used for

You know, it does
something to you.

I don't know why they did it.

I think she got aroused
watching him beat me and,

he got aroused,

watching her engage me sexually.

- As we're talking right now,
somebody's being trafficked,

somebody's being sold,
somebody is crying
because they're

not gonna return to their
family, someone thinks that

they're not gonna make
it past another year.

It's happening right now
and it's insane that it happens

in your own backyard,
trafficking happens everywhere.

In fact, most people don't
know that the number-one

most popular event where
trafficking is happening

is the Superbowl.

The Superbowl is an event we
all look towards to celebrate

and be, you know,

have a fun time with your
friends and be crazy and

at that exact moment, there
are thousands of trafficked

women coming in to service
men, and that's something

that happens right
under our very own eyes.

I've been at the
Superbowl celebrating.

So just to be aware
that it's everywhere.

[boy speaks foreign language]

- [Man] Girls are
for procreation, and um,

boys and for pleasure.

You hear something like
that and you're like,

"nah, that's not really"
and then you hear about it

more and more and more.

- Some of the guys I know
that served in the military,

they knew that it was
part of every Friday night

in Afghanistan.

Young boys would be taken
and forced into sexual acts.

- [Man] All the guys get
drunk and everything else,

and you see 'em walkin'
around, gettin' the kids out of

elementary school, bring 'em
back home, get everybody drunk

and lo and behold,
they have a great time.

- It wasn't just that they
used the sex-trafficking thing,

it was that the sex was used
a tool to brutalize them

and totally break them
down and deprave them,

make them soulless, if
you take a young boy of 12

and he is anally raped
by 30 or 40 men,

and then he is made
to kill his mother

by inserting barbed wire
in her vagina repeatedly

and then chopping her head off,

somewhere in that process
his soul is broken,

and he's destroyed.

So then you've got
the ideal soldier.

Someone who'll live for you
because you protect him,

you care for him and
there's nothing in the world

for him to live for.

And it's the same in Afghanistan
and Iran and those places,

it's not only the selling of
them into trafficking, it's

the very deliberate breaking
down of these boys and girls,

as just objects
in gratification.

- A personal side
for me to do this film

and to raise my voice,

is because I was abused
when I was six-years-old.

A painter grabbed me and
took me to the bathroom.

And I remember lying
there on the floor,

just looking at
the bottom of the toilet.

Just feeling totally
empty and dead inside.

And right after,
he looked me in the eye,

he grabbed my arm and he said,

"if you tell anybody,
I will kill you,

"and I will kill your family."

And I never said a word.

So I just kept silent.

But that silence
is stopping now.

[mantra in Sanskrit language]

One, two, three

- I fight against

- I fight, I fight, I fight!


- [sighs] The power
of the people.

Power of the people.

When you see a lot of
violence in this world,

you're moved by it.

And I believe if
you have a heart,

you want to do something about
it, you can't live your life

living in violence, you don't
want your children to live

in any kind of violence, so you
want to do something about it.

There are activists on the line,

putting their life on the
line to save these girls,

to save these boys and we
don't hear their stories.

And so I think as a
movement we get inspired

by other people's stories
so this way we have

some kind of idea
of what's going on.

We wanted to hear the ups, the
downs, what keeps them going,

what are the challenges?

Everybody tries to be perfect
in this world and they try

to act as if they have it
together, but they don't.

And to know the struggle,
to know their why,

to know why they didn't quit,
to know that this is what

a survivor had to do or
believe in in order to escape,

or through a social movement
we can bring about change,

and if we focus on the movement
behind sex-trafficking,

being human-trafficking,
then I believe,

as a world, we can end this.

- [Activists] I fight
against human-trafficking.

I fight, I fight, I fight!


I fight, I fight, I fight!

[speaking Spanish]

- So often times when we
talk about trafficking,

and people will say,

"Is there a way to
do a knockout punch?

"How do we really knockout
trafficking here in Houston,

"how do we knockout
trafficking here in Texas,

"in the United States?"
[bell rings]

That's our clock.

[Dr. Bob and crew laugh]

Saved by the bell!

[upbeat music]

I'm often asked, "how do
we knockout trafficking

in the United States, what
is the big knockout punch?"

- I think we need to
think two ways about this.

Both in terms of individual
action and structural action.

- It always feels difficult
when you're in the midst

of a fight, there's always,
it's hard when you can't see

the light at the
end of the tunnel.

We just gotta keep moving
forward and be positive

and I think we can do it.

- Unless we get together and
tell the world it's not okay,

to tell the sex-traffickers
it's not okay,

to tell the perverts
it's not okay,

to tell the pedophiles
it's not okay,

to tell the johns
that it's not okay,

then it's gonna be okay,
everything's gonna be

- I think when we think about
specific things that we can do

within our community to stop,

I think the idea of talking
about this and letting people

know that it's not just
an international issue,

that it's a domestic
issue as well.

I think that's important in
terms of growing this awareness.

And letting people know where
trafficking is happening,

and putting pressure on public
officials to change laws.

There are plenty
examples of good laws,

so you could find laws
and you could bring them

to your public officials and
say, "this needs to stop."

- I don't know
if we have any laws

that actually protect women
from human-trafficking.

I know that we have plenty
of laws that punish women

for human-trafficking.

What I am beginning to
see happen is legislation

that is being passed
that protects minors
from trafficking.

They very often
become exempt from crimes

they might have committed,

in the act of being trafficked.

To what extent, however,
those laws are enforced

is a different question.

They look very good when
they're being drafted

and signed in the
state legislature.

Whether they trickle down all
the way to law-enforcement

is yet to be seen but
I think that is a start.

- I think also in
changing the culture.

I think we've all known
young women who think,

well guys can go to strip
clubs, it's just what guys do.

But I think guys and young
women alike need to be saying,

"it's not what real guys do,
it's not what good guys do,

"because this is part
of the problem."

And we see these ties, there's
a web between strip clubs,

between sexually-orientated
businesses, the massage parlors,

and trafficking and I think
people need to understand this

is all part of the web and
when we do one of these things,

we're contributing to this
web of human-trafficking.

- As long as we see women as
commodities that can be bought

and sold, we will
pay a price for sex.

If we begin to see sex as
something that we cherish,

and that only
happens consensually,

then the demand
would hopefully decrease.

- Stop watching pornography,
'cause pornography very

directly fuels human-trafficking
and our generation

especially is porn-addicted,
we watch it so much.

And it directly fuels
human-trafficking, these girls,

these men in pornography,
lots of them,

have been sexually-exploited,

and it's a supply
and demand thing.

So as we continue to
demand more pornography,

they're gonna have
to supply more,

and that involves
sexually-exploiting more people.

- We need to being to also start

punishing those
that seek prostitution.

We need to punish or
criminalize the fact that

men buy sex and we need to
criminalize the fact that men

hire women out for sex.

We need to empower girls to
feel strong about themselves,

and I think whether
it's sexual-assault,

whether it's trafficking,
whether it's standing up

for yourself as an artist or
as a creator or just as a girl.

We need to raise strong girls
who believe in themselves,

and see their worth within
themselves and not being

given to them by others.

- She had been put up in
a room and had been performing

sex acts that were
set up, not by her,

but by the three individuals
for commercial profit.

In this hotel right
here they found her

sitting in the parking lot.

So as you can see, this is
occurring in our communities

right around the corner.

- And then I think if you
really want to get active,

I think doing the equivalent
of these tours where you

know where trafficking is
happening in your town.

- Oh my gosh, I would
say go out and serve.

That's the best experience,
when I traveled with Night Light

and I actually volunteered,
I actually stripped down and

just was a fly on the
wall and source of love

for these women, just going
there, holding their hands,

listening to their stories.

What I love is that out
of seven-billion people,

so many people relate
differently to one another,

but it takes you stepping
out in order to connect

with that person.

Once you've felt the situation
and you understand that

there is a need for your help,
look at your circumference.

Like what is your
area of influence?

Are you a blogger, are you a
teacher, are you a musician,

are you an aspiring doctor?

Whatever your area of
influence is, it's the perfect

voice to help human-trafficking.

It might be writing a song
and dedicating the message

or the proceeds, it might be
as a doctor going out there to

help the women who don't have
that type of help they need.

Whatever it is, for me as
a television host it's lending

my personality and my
ability to emcee an event

and keep it light and so it
just depends on your area

of influence but don't think
that just because you don't

have a bunch of money or
that you're not super-famous

that you can't help.

Everybody has an area of
influence, you just
have to really

figure out how it
would bless you most

to make that
impact that's needed.

This quote-unquote taboo
subject that's out there,

how do we turn around
and make it where

it's brought out into the light,

and how do we make our
leaders, the decision-makers,

turn around and put
people like myself,

other agencies,
use some of those resources

to turn around and go after,

go after some of these folks?

- If I get pissed off for your
ails and you can just be calm

and just walk in forgiveness
and I champion your cause,

I actually think that's healthy.

You know you've got someone
standing up with you

and for you.

If I felt like someone was
standing for me and with me,

then my rage actually decreases,

I walk in calmness
and forgiveness,

because the consensus is
that this just isn't right.

It's when you feel
totally isolated,

like no one really gives a shit,

and somehow you've gotta
make your way in the world,

because no one's hearing you
on this. It is just not right.

It's just not right
to be fucked in the ass

by your father or his
friends with tools.

That is not a wholesome thing
for anyone to experience.

And when there's just
a total lack of rage

over those sorts of topics,

then rage becomes personified
on a personal level,

but I think if there's this
sense of outcry that this stuff

just isn't acceptable, then
it can be that Gandhi march,

it can be that Martin Luther
King Jr., it can be that

soft walk in love of protest,

as opposed to the
Malcolm X extremists.

- If the human spirit can
prevail, it will be eradicated

and it will end.

- All of the great historical
movements for social justice

have been driven
by young people.

So young people have the
energy, they have the passion,

and they have the time,
also the creativity.

Something happens
when you get older,

and you begin to become a little
bit more set in your ways,

and thinking outside of the
box becomes more difficult.

- I'm hoping that what we
suffer now will be stopped

in our time.

And young people can
take on the torch and

hoping that maybe the next
generation can explore

opportunity without the risks of
being sold and enslaved.

- We don't have the finances
or the status in society to go

make a big difference, but we
shouldn't let that stop us.

Just because we're super-young
or just because we don't have

a bunch of money doesn't mean
there's nothing we can do.

- I never stopped and
thought, "you know what,

"I'm not gonna say anything
because nobody's gonna listen."

I didn't care if somebody
listened or not.

It was like, "I'm gonna say
something because I'm upset,

"and I'm mad and I'm angry
and things need to change,

"and if I don't
start to do it, who is?"

So I think if millennials
really think about

what they want to do, there's
nothing they can't do.

- I still to this day
can't get rid of it.

I'm 37 now, it's been 10 years
and when you really allow

your mind to go there and
you picture your children,

your sisters, your friends, in
this case my mom's neighbors,

you can't just sit quiet.

- I think we're at a really
opportune moment in history

to make a difference
around these issues because

as your film I'm sure will
show, people all over the world

are becoming aware
of the problem and
want to make a change,

want to make a difference.

That strength in the
end can move mountains.

- I can tell you that the
true life is when we discover

our purpose in life
and we open our arms,

we open our hands
and we really want

to give our life to others.

- Statistically,

in your neighborhood,

someone very close to you
is being sexually-abused.

And if you don't
take responsibility

and get actively involved
in doing something about it,

then a little life
will be broken.

- [Carolina] There is something
every single one of us can

do to help fight
human trafficking.

Just 'cause you aren't
gonna give your entire life

to fighting it doesn't mean
you can't do something.

- So to those young people
that is watching this,

I can tell you
that to save a life,

it's really to save our world.

- It is very important
for us to raise our voice

about a cause we believe in
because if we all just said,

"somebody else will handle
it" or if we all just said,

"oh, what am I gonna do?"

Nothing would ever happen,
nothing would ever get done.

There are plenty of people who
were affected by something,

touched by something and said,

"you know what,
I'm gonna talk about it,"

and because of
that, change happens.

- Strength in numbers.

Like if you organize human
beings and you have one cause,

you can influence the
world, influence society,

but if you've got 20 guys
running around on their own

doing something as opposed
to getting together

and organizing,
that's a big difference.

[somber piano music]

- I think it's too filtered.

I think that's the problem
with the conversation,

is people don't
want to talk about it.

They don't want to talk about

They don't want to talk about
the fact that I put my tongue

in my mother's vagina at four,

and no one wanted to have
a conversation about it.

They still don't.

I'm okay with it.

What the hell, man?

Someone shouldn't
be okay with it.

I have to be okay with it,
because it's part
of the journey,

I can't get tied up in what
that means, but it would be

really nice if someone was
pissed off on my behalf.