Benjamin Nolot's award-winning documentary Nefarious, Merchant of Souls, chronicles the filmmaker's journey around the world as he investigates international sex trafficking of women and children.
Debuting on DVD May 1, the film follows Nolot and his team as they travel through Europe, Thailand, Cambodia, and the United States. At each stop, they uncover a different aspect of the modern-day sex slave trade.
Nefarious reveals tragic facts about sex-trafficking: Many trafficked women and children originate from Eastern Europe and Thailand often in an effort to escape poverty. Once lured into sex trafficking --- either through kidnapping or false promises of work --- they are physically and mentally abused and forced to work for manipulative, money-hungry men. Crippling socioeconomic systems and corrupt politics make escape virtually impossible for these women and children. Once captured into trafficking, many are lucky to survive seven years.
Nefarious also looks at the peculiarities of trafficking unique to each country. When Nolot visits Cambodia, he focused on the deeply ingrained sense of duty that many women feel to provide for their family. Sadly, many believe prostitution is their only option: Young girls are prepared from an early age to work as prostitutes and it is common for Cambodian parents to sell their daughters into prostitution in exchange for money, fancy gadgets, and the luxury of not having to work.
In contrast, most eastern European women who are trafficked are victims of parental abandonment and orphanages, while women who work as prostitutes in Las Vegas do so as an attempt to achieve a rich, glamorous life as upscale call-girls, only to find themselves trapped in a lifestyle that leaves them feeling worthless and desperate.
Nefarious tells a vivid story with compelling and at times uncomfortable detail to make a final point: No matter how they enter the trade, sex-trafficked women are emotionally and psychologically enslaved. The obstacles to freedom are significant and effective solutions to ending trafficking are complex.
Nefarious is only for mature audiences. Viewers will be exposed to horrifying aspects about the sex trade, but also to hope. Sponsored by Exodus Cry,Nefarious offers hope that legislation, intervention and awareness can help end it. More importantly, as a Christian-produced film, Nefarious reveals the hope that the Gospel can provide survivors of sex trafficking.
This story first appeared on WORLD New York.