There are over two million children being trafficked for sex around the world. Last night I saw the important film Holly along with many members and friends of the Cambodian-American Community of Oregon. It tells the story of a Vietnamese girl of around 12 years old who is sold into slavery by her family. Shes ends up in a hotel/brothel in Phnom Penh. Ron Livingston, the star of Office Space, plays an American who is disgusted when offered Holly for sex by the hotel manager. He befriends the girl and with that learns how the world of sex trafficking is ruining the lives of so many children and teenagers.
This was a well-written and directed film, the reviews of which should help to get more people into the theaters to see it. Our audience was fortunate to have Azi Ezroni, the film’s producer, and James Pond, founder and Executive Director of Transitions Cambodia, available after the film to speak and answer questions. Azi told about the threats to their lives in filming this story in Cambodia and how she was detained for several days before being allowed to bring the film with her out of the country. James, who I briefly met at the Cambodia Backstage fundraiser a few months back, created Transitions Cambodia to assist victims of sex trafficking, providing counseling, a safe home, education and adult life skills training. Here is a snippet of their mission statement:
At TCI we believe that the imperative goal is not to remove a girl from one form of abuse, only to place her into a situation that will further her abuse or trauma. While shelters provide some necessary services to a small percentage of trafficking victims, it has a limited application. Research and experience has shown that young women coming from sexually exploitive situations are in need of being involved in making decisions in regard to their own futures. They need to have a broader scope of expression in their living situations, community, and family environments. We work with our clients to help them discover themselves, explore their possibilities, and begin the process of crossing from one place to a better place.
I was fortunate enough to sit next to someone who is doing some marketing work with Transitions Cambodia and I hope that, with the film and digital media education that I’m getting, I can create something of promotional value for the organization.
If you’re in the Portland area, I strongly recommend you go to see Holly at the Regal Fox Tower. If you’re not in this area, check out the film website for locations.