Not all art is lighthearted and funny. Some of it is very serious and tells a specific message or truth that is difficult to face. While the Nerd Mentality has leaned firmly into entertaining movies in the past we thought it might be a good idea to also focus on significant film subjects. This leads us to the 2017 documentary Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex Trafficking.
Stopping Traffic is the debut film for director/producer Sadhvi Siddhali Shree. She is the Chief Disciple of Acharya Shree Yogeesh, a Jain female-monk, international speaker, US Army Iraq veteran, documentarian, and an activist. Her life is dedicated to spreading the message of non-violence and inspiring personal transformation and social change.
Stopping Traffic is a documentary about the prevalent issues that many today still face in the sex trafficking industry. Sadhvi Siddhali Shree is not only bringing to light the tragic stories of others but she speaks from personal experience as she too is a victim of childhood sexual abuse.
I have heard of human trafficking before but I did not realize it was still so prevalent today (20 to 30 million each year) or that it is so large of an industry. To say these stories are heartbreaking as a viewer is an understatement. The mind almost fails to comprehend how this could happen to so many innocent people. Yet the statistics show that human trafficking is the 2nd largest criminal enterprise in the world. These issues don’t simply effect 3rd world countries, but they are right here in our own home, as the United States is a large proponent. With the advent of websites quickly being accessed on smaller devices, there has been a rise of child sex slaves as online purchases.
It would be easy to simply list statistics and figures in a bullet point fashion (and the film does bring up quite a number of stats) but the important part to remember is that these aren’t simply numbers but living, breathing humans just like you and me. That point is masterfully driven home throughout the film because we get to see it and hear it through the words of real people that have gone through this. It is disgusting to think that a child can be bought and delivered as quickly and easily as pizza or household goods!
Stopping Traffic was shot in Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Iraq, Mexico, the Philippines and Vietnam for a run time of 79 minutes. The images and stories of real people are haunting and unforgettable. No Halloween horror story can match the very real situations our fellow humans have had to endure in their sometimes very short lifespans.
It is so hard to picture events and stories about a four year old child whose arms were cut off so that he could make more money as a beggar. Or know that girls as young as a year old are being used in cyber porn. To hear that children are kidnapped and being raised to be prostitutes, taught by their captors how to act to pleasure their clients is sickening. Parents sometimes are tricked and children are stolen, but sometimes they willingly give their kids up for money. We are talking about a $32 billion industry where the average price for a slave is $90.
Who could possibly do these types of appalling behaviors? Our minds almost force us to think of them as otherworldly monsters that cannot possibly be human. However this documentary shows interviews with a reformed trafficker and the deep scars and regrets he has to live with each day. It is a societal issue that can be corrected and discouraged.
Stopping Traffic shows and tells us these stories without looking away and without making it palatable. It is a firsthand look at the very real issues that we should all be aware of and want to stop. We see these events through the eyes of survivors, reformed traffickers, historians, veteran activists, front-line rescue/aid organizations and celebrities who are helping make others more aware of what is going on every day.
The point of Stopping Traffic is not to bring fame and fortune to the makers of the documentary because all proceeds from it will fund trafficking awareness campaigns. One of these is a private U.S. rescue team that has already helped thousands within the last decade and will operate in the U.S and abroad. The film will also help support three shelters in New Orleans, Mexico City and Manila, Philippines. There are no easy answers but change can happen.
Stopping Traffic Final Thoughts:
Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex Trafficking is a very important film and more people need to see it. Unfortunately there is no magical way we can go back and fix what has already happened to people. We as a society should be more aware of the issue and change this world so that it doesn’t keep happening. More should speak out against the despicable ways sex is used to abuse. Hiding this abuse and just hoping it goes away has not fixed the problem.
This is not an easy issue to hear about or talk about, however just imagine how difficult it is for people to live through. This problem won’t go away easily but it needs to go away. I applaud Sadhvi Siddhali Shree and everyone else involved in this production to bring this important subject to more people. The film will be released to major distributors on VOD January 9th 2018 during National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and I urge you to see it and talk about it with others.
If you would like to get more involved in your own community or have additional questions please visit the official website of the documentary: www.StoppingTrafficFilm.com
The film is out now and can be seen on Amazon or iTunes.
Note: This film was made available to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.