My father worked for CARE and Save the Children as a pediatric epidemiologist. Over the course of his career he went to refugee camps in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Haiti, Biafra and Somalia seeing some of the worst living conditions for people on the planet. He dedicated his life to making a difference in the lives of children in those situations and he is my hero. After directing TV and commercials for years, building my career on getting amazing performances from young child actors, I was looking for a project that could help real children in the way that other films in the past like Salaam Bombay and Born Into Brothels had. These films both created non-profits to benefit real children in need and helped to focus attention on vulnerable children. I wanted to create a model of a for-profit, narrative film that also had a non-profit arm, which could raise funds for deserving NGOs. Both efforts would be mutually beneficial and supportive of each other. We are hoping to create a symbiotic for-profit/non-profit model, which will have a real effect in the world and help to change many children’s lives for the better.
When I read Sold by Patricia McCormick, I knew that I had found the story that I had been looking for, and I optioned the novel the next day. I knew that this first person account of a courageous young girl named Lakshmi, who is trafficked from rural Nepal to a brothel in bustling Kolkata, was a story that could make a powerful film which would shed light on a dire issue and could drive a campaign to raise funds for children who had been through this terrible ordeal.
We hope SOLD will focus world attention on the plight of sexually exploited children in the way a film like An Inconvenient Truth galvanized awareness for global warming. We are creating a 50 mins PG 13 educational version of SOLD and an educational guide to protect, engage and empower youth, the group most often targeted by human trafficking. This version will be distributed by Roc*o films. We have also set up a fund with our film called the TaughtNotTrafficked Fund. See Goals for what this fund will sustain and create. The Taught Not Trafficked Fund will give grants to NGOs with proven track records in making a difference in the lives of children through education and in helping those who were trafficked re-build their lives in India, Nepal and the U.S. Our film is on a mission to end child trafficking. We want it used in every possible way to address this major human rights issue, raising funds and spreading awareness. We want SOLD to unite people and organizations to work together to create a world where children are no longer bought and sold as a commodity. We want SOLD to connect Hollywood and Bollywood, Silicon Valley and Bangalore using screening events to raise funds for our many NGO partners to support them in their critical work helping vulnerable children. We hope our film will foster change and raise substantial funds for survivors in India, Nepal and the United States.