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Nefarious: Merchant of Souls

I was given by my friend Kaye Catral a copy of the DVD Nefarious: Merchant of Souls – a look inside human trafficking and sex slavery. I am glad that I was able to watch this film. I think documentaries like Nefarious leaves you different. You will never look at women, prostitution and human trafficking in the same light manner as when we read the news.

child prostitution

Synopsis: Nefarious: Merchant of Souls is a 2011 American documentary film about modern human trafficking, specifically sexual slavery. Presented from a Christian worldview, Nefarious covers human trafficking in the United States, Western and Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia, alternating interviews with re-enactments. Victims of trafficking talk about having been the objects of physical abuse and attempted murder. Several former prostitutes talk about converting to Christianity, escaping sexual oppression, and moving on to education or marriage. The film ends with the assertion that only Jesus can free people from sexual slavery.

20121108_nefarious_poster_Nefarious was written, directed, produced and narrated by Benjamin Nolot, founder and president of Exodus Cry,[1] the film’s distributor. Nolot, who travelled to 19 countries to collect the film’s content, said that the purpose of the film is “to draw people’s attention to the issue, but also to inspire them in terms of what they can be doing … to take a stand against this injustice.”[2] The film was officially released on July 27, 2011, with individual grassroots screenings also taking place. Laila Mickelwait, Exodus Cry’s director of awareness and prevention, screened the film in several countries in an attempt to persuade governments to make laws similar to Sweden’s Sex Purchase Act, which criminalizes the purchasing rather than the selling of sex. The film was released on home video on May 1, 2012. (taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nefarious:_Merchant_of_Souls)

Here are some disturbing facts:

1. Human trafficking is growing faster than any other criminal industry, that  victimizes almost two million children worldwide.

2. 80% of trafficked women and 50% of trafficked children are sexually exploited,  that 161 UN member states engage in human trafficking, and that modern slavery has an annual revenue of US$32,000,000,000[17]—according to the film, higher than the annual revenues of Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League combined.[3] The film indicates that “trafficking is an exploitation of vulnerability” and expresses the need to “take away the stigma that [prostitutes] choose to be there.”

As I watching the film, I couldn’t help but cry to see kids as young as my daughters are used for sexual exploits of men and the audacity of the parents to sell them so that they could enjoy a more comfortable life. Children worldwide have been abused and treated like trash.

I wanted to do something in my own little way but I know it would take the effort of more than one. It is an effort of thousands and even millions of people who are willing to end human trafficking especially in the Philippines.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) estimated 60,000 to 100,000 children in the Philippines were involved in prostitution rings.[12] According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) about 100,000 children were involved in prostitution as of 2009.[13] is a high incidence of child prostitution in tourist areas. An undetermined number of children are forced into exploitative labor operations.[12]

In 2007, there were estimated to be 375,000 women and girls in the sex trade in the Philippines, mostly between the ages of 15 and 20, though some are as young as 11.[16]

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies stated in 2003 that there were more than 1.5 million street children in the Philippines and many end up in prostitution and drug trafficking in places such as Manila and Angeles City.[17]

Government and NGO estimates in 2007 on the number of women trafficked ranged from 300,000 to 400,000 and the number of children trafficked ranged from 60,000 to 100,000.[18] According to the US government reports, the number of child victims in the Philippines range from 20,000 to 100,000, with foreign tourists, particularly other Asians, as perpetrators.[18]

In 2010, an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 children in the Philippines were involved in prostitution rings, according to Minette Rimando, a spokeswoman for the U.N.’S International Labour Organization’s Manila office.[19] A 2006 article reported that based on statistics provided by the Visayan Forum Foundation, most victims were between 12 to 22 years old.[20]

The Philippines is ranked under Tier 2 Watch List in the 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report of the United States (US) State Department due to the Philippine government’s alleged failure to show evidence of progress in convicting trafficking offenders, particularly those responsible for labor trafficking.[21] (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_the_Philippines)

For those interested to do something about human trafficking, I would encourage you to first watch Nefarious. DVDs are available at all House of Praise branches. In my next blog, I’ll share how we can make a difference.


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