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2014 Asian American International Film Festival

SOLD (Starring Gillian Anderson, David Arquette) to Open AAIFF’14 and Launch Fight Against Child Trafficking

  • Gillian Anderson and David Arquette film SOLD to open Asian American International Film Festival and launch fight against child trafficking.
  • #TaughtNotTrafficked campaign will work to prevent child trafficking in Nepal, where numbers of children sold into slavery and forced prostitution are rising.
  • SOLD will be screened at AAIFF opening night Thursday 24 July with a Q&A with Academy Award winning director Jeffrey D. Brown, producer Jane Charles and SOLD actress Seirah Royin.

New York July 18, 2014 – This year’s Asian American International Film Festival will open on Thursday 24 July at Asia Society, with the New York premiere of SOLD, a film adaptation of Patricia McCormick’s bestseller that follows 13-year-old Lakshmi who is sold to a brothel in Kolkata and risks everything to reclaim her life.

SOLD stars Gillian Anderson who portrays the US photographer Sophia, fighting against the odds to rescue girls like Lakshmi, together with the help of NGO worker Mrs Tripathi portrayed by Seirah Royin, and a US volunteer Sam, portrayed by David Arquette.

Directed by Academy Award winner Jeffrey D. Brown, produced by Jane Charles and executive produced by Emma Thompson, SOLD is part of a wider effort to raise awareness of the issue of child trafficking, in partnership with children’s rights organisation Childreach International and their campaign #TaughtNotTrafficked which will enable survivors of trafficking to visit high risk areas of Nepal to tell their stories as well improve schools to ensure children are less vulnerable to trafficking.

It is estimated that 20,000 Nepali children are trafficked each year with 200,000 Nepali girls currently working in the sex industry in India. Human trafficking is a global problem with an estimated 21 million people in forced labor around the world, generating $150 billion in illegal profits.

Gillian Anderson, says, “Working on this sensitively told film and with young women who have themselves experienced the unbelievable trauma of trafficking has opened my eyes to the horrors these young people face on a daily basis as well as the often life threatening danger those working at the charities put themselves in to free these innocent victims from modern day slavery. We also need to work on tackling the causes of trafficking. Education is key, which is why I’m proud to support the #TaughtNotTrafficked campaign with Childreach International.”

David Arquette, says, “Rarely in the entertainment industry does one have the opportunity to be part of a project with the social importance of SOLD. I am honored to be a part of SOLD and the film’s wider campaign #TaughtNotTrafficked with Childreach International to help shed light on the devastating tragedy of human trafficking and crucially, to bring hope to children and families at risk of being trafficked.”

Seirah Royin, who plays NGO worker Mrs Tripathi in SOLD and is a Childreach International Ambassador, says, “Filming SOLD on location in India has really touched my heart. To research the role of Mrs. Tripathi, an NGO worker who helps to rescue girls from forced prostitution, I spoke to sex trafficking survivors who wanted to share their stories. I am so proud to be supporting Childreach International and the #TaughtNotTrafficked campaign, which is tackling the problem at the roots, ensuring children stay in schools, which makes them much less likely to be trafficked.”

Jeffrey D. Brown, SOLD director, says, “I wanted to create a film that could foster change and serve as a vehicle to raise funds for children that would make a substantial difference in their lives. When I picked up SOLD, I felt McCormick’s words were the call to action I had been waiting for and optioned the book that day. Working closely with Childreach Nepal during the production of the film, it became clear that education was the key to making a real difference, so we jumped at the chance to help with Childreach International’s #TaughtNotTrafficked campaign to help Nepali children stay in school.”

Jane Charles, SOLD producer says, “Human Trafficking is a 150 billion dollar per year illegal business. We created SOLD as a tool for change to help end this horrible crime that affects almost every country around the globe.  We are excited to be working with Childreach International on the #TaughtNotTrafficked campaign. Keeping children in school is one large step in the right direction.” 

John Carson Woo, executive director of Asian CineVision and the Asian American International Film Festival, says, “We are deeply moved by this intense, emotional story of one girl’s quest for freedom. SOLD covers the urgent social and global issue, but it is a powerful film that both exposes the unimaginable hardship of the victims, yet highlights the dignity in them. Partaking in the #TaughtNotTrafficked campaign becomes naturally the next step for everyone who is so harrowed by the issue depicted in the film.”

Firoz Patel, CEO of Childreach International, adds, “Trafficking is a global problem. It is estimated that 21 million people, over 5 million of whom are children, are in some form of slavery. Nowhere is this more felt than in Nepal, where tens of thousands of children, especially girls, get sold into forced work from which there is little hope of escape. In supporting children to stay in education, we can make a difference, strengthening local communities and economies that will better withstand the lure and the threat of the trafficker.”

Emily Pasnak-Lapchick, End Trafficking Program Officer, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, says “SOLD humanizes the issue of child trafficking. By pulling us into the world of one child who is trafficked, the film provides insight into the horrors children experience but also illustrates the resilience they have to overcome such horrible situations.”

SOLD will open the Asian American International Film Festival in New York on Thursday July 24, with an additional screening on July 26. Q & A sessions with director Jeffrey D. Brown, producer Jane Charles and actress Seirah Royin are to follow both screenings.

Diary Dates:

AAIFF’14 Press Conference: 11am-1pm, July 23, NYU Asian/Pacific/American Institute
8 Washington Mews, New York, NY 10003
AAIFF’14 Opening night Gala followed by SOLD: 6pm, Thursday July 24, Asia Society
725 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021
AAIFF’14 2nd screening of SOLD: 5pm, Saturday July 26, City Cinema Village East
189 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003

Press contact: t. 212.989.1422 |  c. 917.499.8381
Interviews with SOLD talent available on request

 About SOLD the Movie

A young girl, Lakshmi, leaves her quiet village in the Nepali Himalayas in the expectation of a job in big city India. However on her arrival she soon realises that she has been trafficked into a prison brothel and the world of prostitution, where she must struggle daily to survive against impossible odds. Sold illustrates the brutality of child trafficking, a crime experienced by millions of girls every year around the globe. Based on the bestselling novel Sold by Patricia McCormick, the film is a collaboration between US and Indian production teams and features Gillian Anderson (X-FILES), David Arquette (CONCEPTION) and Seem Biswas (BANDIT QUEEN). It is directed by Oscar-winner Jeffrey D. Brown, and produced by Jane Charles. Emma Thompson is Executive Producer.

The film has so far won ‘Audience Award’ at LIFF (London Indian Film Festival), ‘Best Narrative Feature’ at AFME (Aburquerque) and ‘2nd Prize Feature Narrative’ at the Athens International Film Festival. It was screened at the Cineworld in Haymarket as part of the London Indian Film Festival. The screening at the Asian American International Film Festival will be the film’s New York Premiere.

About Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF)

As the first and longest running film festival of its kind in USA, AAIFF proudly celebrates its 37th edition in 2014. For over three decades, AAIFF has played a leading role to introduce important Asian American and Asian artists to New York audiences by premiering works by filmmakers such as Cui Zi’en, Lav Diaz, Marilou Diaz-Abaya, Ann Hui, Michael Kang, Eric Khoo, Mira Nair, Pang Ho-cheung, Park Chan- wook, Rea Tajiri, Johnnie To, Tsui Hark, Wayne Wang, Edward Yang and Zhang Yang. The Festival also spotlighted films by Oscar-winning artists including Christine Choy, Keiko Ibi, Ang Lee, and Jessica Yu. For full line up of AAIFF’14: AAIFF.ORG

Child Trafficking – key statistics

  • 20.9 million people are in some form of slavery in the world, including 5 million children [ILO, 2012]. 200,000 Nepalese girls are working in brothels in India (ILO, 2001)
  • According to UN.GIFT, up to 20,000 children are trafficked from Nepal every year
  • Human slavery generates an estimated $32 billion a year [ILO, 2008]
  • Child trafficking increased by 7% between 2003-6 and 2007-2010 [UNODC, 2012]
  • Girls make up 36% trafficking victims in Nepal, boys 3% [UNODC, 2012]
  • 1.6 million children are working for a living in Nepal, of which 0.62 million are forced to work in the worst forms of child labour including the sex industry [ILO, 2011]
  • 38% of repatriated Nepali sex-trafficked girls and women were HIV positive in 2007 [Silverman, JG et. Al, Harvard School of Public Health, 2007]
  • Only 42% of children under the age of 5 are registered at birth in Nepal [UNICEF, 2014]
  • Nepal has the 5th highest prevalence of modern slavery [Abolish Slavery Coalition]

For further reference, please visit:

About Childreach International

Childreach International is a child rights organization established in 2004 by Firoz Patel with others who share his passion for unlocking the potential of children and young people. When children and their families secure their rights, especially to education, we see communities becoming stronger and societies changing. Childreach currently works in Bangladesh, India, Morocco, Nepal, Tanzania and the UK, collaborating with the world’s unsung heroes – people within communities who have been supporting the rights of children for years. By working in partnership with these local activists, we ensure that our projects are tailored to what children really want and are entitled to.

For more information, visit: | | | #AAIFF | #TaughtNotTrafficked