React

Sixty-five years after the U.N. General Assembly signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we continue to witness the sale of human beings and the degradation of women's bodies and minds. THE PRICE of SEX gives you a sense of what trafficking does to women.

Now, we would like to hear from you: your reactions to the film and your solutions.  We hope a global conversation will begin and to assist it, the director of THE PRICE OF SEX and her team will respond in real time to your questions and solutions.

We look forward to hearing from you.

The Price of Sex: Women Speak
I had the pleasure to meet Mimi Chakarova in person during her trip to Aarhus, Denmark, where she premiered her documentary during a guest lecture. Seeing the film itself is one thing, but having the chance to get this highly personal insight from Mimi herself made it even better. Working in an industry (journalism) that is currently undergoing severe transformations (emergence of user generated content, etc.), it is great to see that there are still people out there that share the rather idealistic perspective of journalism: to expose wrong-doing and to strive for better conditions for people that are socially marginalized. That is what Mimi accomplished, so she was and is an inspiration for young journalists like myself. The film itself could not be more authentic. It's intense, and most importantly: REAL. I highly recommend it.
Re: The Price of Sex: Women Speak
Aljosha, reading your article on trafficking this morning made me so proud. This is exactly what I've been hoping my students and viewers would do – watch this film, ask questions, and then find an avenue for their own point of view and personal protest. This is how we can change perspectives. And I agree with The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime that you mention in your research: trafficking is “a crime of such magnitude and atrocity that it cannot be dealt with by any government alone." So each one of us must do our part.
How can I help?
Is there a way average citizens can help? Human trafficking has been brought to my attention by other articles on NPR and although I have always wished I could help... this story is causing me to act. The author's courage in going under cover- her hometown knowledge of girls that disappeared- it is incomprehensible to me. I wish I could be a part of a local group that could influence our national politicians- is that possible?
Re: How can I help?
Ms. Kennedy, I am so glad that hearing the story on NPR led you to pose this important question. I also hope you get to see the film. We will screen THE PRICE OF SEX in Anchorage later this year. Now, what can you do? How can you help? I can answer this question on multiple levels.The first step is to inform others. Tell them about what triggered your reaction. What is it about what I said on NPR that made you want to stand up? Knowledge and understanding are always the first steps. Yes, there are organizations that you can join – look for anti-trafficking NGOs in your area or domestic violence centers. Most of the women I interviewed were abused years before they were sold as sex slaves. The root of trafficking is much deeper than poverty and failed social systems. If you click on "Get Involved," you will see other suggestions of what you can do to help. And the mere fact that you're willing to take a stand is commendable. I sincerely thank you. All my best, Mimi Chakarova
The Price of Sex
I cannot properly describe Mimi's documentary. At least not with adjectives, even digging into my thesaurus. The force of her work is much better approached by using verbs: outrage, sadness, pride (there are tales of great courage in the film, including Mimi's), shock, disgust, amusement (some of the ironies she captures are funny despite the grave context in which they occur), fury, disbelief, resignation, obligation and compulsion to do something. It's this last sensation that most forcefully articulates the value and quality of Mimi's work. What can we do? There is no better reaction a journalist can elicit from an audience than the need and desire to make a difference, to improve the world. Mimi and her team have accomplished this with striking clarity, through the choice of story, script, interviews, camera work, music and, most of all, Mimi's unyielding presence at the center of the narrative. William Randolph Hearst created what he called , "Journalism of Action." A fabulous idea -- giving our profession blood and heart -- and one we reporters, hunched in our observational foxholes, could stand to learn from. He meant something a little different than my own translation of this concept. To my mind, "Price of Sex," is one of the finer examples of how that should go. Thank you, Mimi, and congratulations.
Inspirational
Mimi Chakarova came to City University London to show Price of Sex to our postgraduate journalism class. The bar was high - previous speakers include heads of international news agencies and journalists of the most remarkable kind. But Mimi was exceptional. Emotion reached fever pitch as the credits rolled, and I was both shocked and moved by what I had seen in The Price of Sex. This surprised me, as I have campaigned on sex trafficking; a result of this is an unnaturally high exposure to such crimes. Mimi's strength was her ability to show what has become a brutal norm in an extraordinary way - tracing the interwoven lives of women whom each of us could have known or been. The Price of Sex is a triumph in investigative journalism, and must not be missed.
Re: Inspirational
Thank you for sharing your impressions. The trajectory followed by the thousands of women trafficked into the sex trade each year is eerily similar. It's a time-tested model, and traffickers know what works. As we began to weave together 7 years of Mimi's footage, interviews and photographs documenting the horrible practice and its end results, the commonalities could not have been more apparent. In 'The Price of Sex', one woman takes us on a portion of her awful journey. She takes a breath, and passes the torch to her sister in the tragedy, who continues where the first left off. And so on. A woman reveals a chapter in her story, and as her story is woven together with others - a universal truth emerges: this is how it happened to one woman…and to untold thousands, maybe millions more. Truth is often simple. And the stark simplicity with which each of these women was forced into sexual slavery paints a cold and brutal picture of the world. But there is a fundamentally more important truth to this story. Each of the women we spend time with in the film is courageous to the core. They were brave enough to survive a living Hell, brave enough to fight their way back home, and ultimately brave enough to share their story with the world. And every time their story is told, the broader truth is laid bare: that sex trafficking flourishes because it is too easily ignored or dismissed. Every time their stories are shared, perceptions are altered, and perhaps another mind is changed. I know that mine was, and I will be forever grateful for it.

Courageous work, and spreading the word
I've admired the work of Mimi Chakarova for many years, and I'm so inspired by her valiant efforts and this movie/project. Because of her work, I've had many discussions about the flesh trade with Americans, and nearly every time they are surprised that this modern slavery even exists. If they have any concept at all of sex trafficking, it's as a distant international problem. The more uninformed they are, the more likely they are to make a cynical joke, too. So I take a moment to try and patiently explain: There is forced prostitution in America. There are people who suffer for the enjoyment of others. There are places like this "Price of Sex" web site, so there's no excuse to say "We didn't know." I figure a 10 minute thoughtful conversation with someone is the least I could do, considering how many years and how much effort Chakarova put into making sense of the sex trade in "Price of Sex." She put care into humanizing the supply side (these enslaved women), showing the demand side (among the johns are policemen!) and showing just how thin the cartilage of protection is preventing this dark transaction. We cannot say "We didn't know," not after Chakarova's lyrical and engaging and courageous work.
Re: Courageous work, and spreading the word
Thank you for posting your thoughtful comment. What you wrote couldn't be more true – I've spoken with people from all walks of life and nationalities through the years and most don't know what sex trafficking entails. And then there are others who have misconceptions and perpetuate the stigma: "This only happens to Roma women in Bulgaria, Romania or Moldova..." or "These women (whether African, Asian, East European, etc) know what they're signing up for. Serves them right" or "Prostitution is the oldest profession. Why even bother doing work on this subject? Boys will be boys" or "Every woman has a price. What's yours?" and so on. And here is why I am grateful for what you wrote, Keli Dailey. If we all admit that we are a part of this global equation and that Yes, this does indeed happen to girls who aren't even old enough to be women, and that Yes, no human being should be enslaved and brutalized, then we have to actively engage others and do our part to educate and provide outlets for those who have been silenced by shame and fear. This is what we do as journalists, but most importantly, as fellow women and human beings. I commend you and the other people who posted reactions below for spreading the word and sharing the reality of THE PRICE OF SEX.
Unforgettable
Thanks for showing us this documentary Mimi, it reminded us what journalism should be. This commitment for several years really makes a difference. I was left with sadness and inspiration to tell stories which should not be forgotten.
Spectacular
I have never seen a film about sex trafficking that I felt delved so deep into the human tragedy aspect of it. Mimi spent 8 years working on it and that really shows through her relationship with the victims, who clearly trust her. Her photo-journalistic background is also evident, with a lot of thought having gone into each shot. All-round a spectacular achievement. It's so important that as many people as possible see it.
Amazing film! Saw it in class and was left saddened and inspired. While some have said that the topic of sex trafficking is overdone, Mimi’s documentary, and the women in it, remind us that it’s still a very prevalent problem and we need to take action
Mimi showed us her documentary in a journalism class. We, 120+ were inspired, impressed by Mimi her braveness and incredible dedication to this topic. But I guess the overall feeling was sadness about this horrendous business young women are forced to work in. Most of us can't imagine but the film brings you close to how horrible it must be. The only thing I would say is: go watch it and tell friends, lawyers, officials...people around you...Facebook it! and with all the creativity in this world try to act upon it.
thank you for your inspiration.
Dear Mimi, when I saw the film at the screening in Berkeley, I was completely overwhelmed. Not only by the heartbreaking stories of these women and their families, but your intense drive to keep following this trail around the world. Not many reporters can place themselves in the first person in a documentary, but you do it so eloquently and honestly. I hope your countrymen/women are inspired by the stories you tell--and that it spurns them to act. You are an amazing reporter and have such an incredibly talented team working with you; the film is like art-meets-life-meets-horror movie. It is breathtakingly beautiful and unabashedly raw. With every film screening, I hope that night's sleep is more restful than the last. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your work. Truly you are an inspiring individual.
Thank you.
I just want to thank you for organizing the special screening for students at Berkeley—as you begin your journey taking the film around the world. Congrats for the Nestor Almendros Award and Silverdocs (among other great festivals!). I am inspired not only by the dedication and work you have poured into this project for seven years, but also your incredible team and the discussion this film is generating. It validates the reasons I got into this field and why I am pursuing the difficult but crucial and beautiful craft of documentary filmmaking. I wish you all the best on your continued journey with this work. Awed and Inspired, Lauren
Mimi, I remain very moved by your film and the deep work it obviously took to create it. You demand that we look, that we share in knowing. In some way it feels like you have scraped to the bone some of the worst violations of human rights, and at the same time presented a piece that looks at who you are. You and your team have brought lyricism and beauty to a story of horror, insisting that we relate to those ravaged faces. Your personal strength and the profound personal price you surely have paid to reveal this world is very moving and unforgettable. Thank you for this.
Mimi, Your movie knocked the air out of my lungs. For its beauty for its harsh message. For its humanity. Your movie was unsettling - came unsettling close to making men squirm in their seats, And then you revealed another layer - that of the mothers involved. Those who sell their daughters then cloud their own pain with booze. That hit me in the gut. Victims and perpetrators - they are connected in this strange dance. Thanks for sticking with this tough story and seeing it through to its completion!
I attended the showing of your film, The Price of Sex. I am glad that you decided to make this documentary that addresses this horrible worldwide phenomena, subjugating and abusing millions of women. I also attended a recent talk on a book called Red Lights: The Lives of Sex Workers in Postsocialist China...Women are forced in to the sex trade due to the poverty in the countryside. I liked your point (though a sad one) that with the fall of communism, the safety nets were removed and opened the door to sex trafficking. I was in your country in 1970, mostly in Sofia....I remember it being so clean, and it didn't look as impoverished as it does today as reflected in your film. On my way to Bulgaria from Turkey, my boyfriend and traveling companion was asked twice by Turks if he would swap me for a Turkish or Bulgarian woman. What total disregard for my life and I could have ended up in a brothel! I know that this was a very difficult and dangerous endeavor for you. Thank for your dedication and bringing this topic to the fore.
Mimi - I want to salute you for the incredible film you created. I'm truly inspired by your ability to pull together the people and resources you needed to independently produce the film. It's a very powerful film and I am haunted by the stories and images. You did right by these women - they had dignity but at the same time you did not gloss over any element of the reality you discovered. And they still had such beauty, and integrity, even if perhaps, tragically, they are unable to recognize it in themselves. Thanks to you and to all who contributed to this effort.
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