Recommended Books & Films

Posted by on July 8, 2011 in Updates

Many of these resources use sexually explicit and/or violent language and imagery. If applicable, please consult with your parents before reading or watching the following.


Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself
By Rachel Lloyd – 2011
A deeply moving story by a survivor of the commercial sex industry who has devoted her career to activism and helping other young girls escape “the life”

The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy It
By Victor Malarek – 2009
Amazon product review: Following up on his scathing indictment of the international sexual enslavement of women in The Natashas, investigative journalist Victor Malarek lays bare the other side of the crisis: the men who fuel the demand.

The Natashas: Inside the Global Sex Trade
By Victor Malarek – 2004
Amazon product review: On the black market, they’re the third most profitable commodity, after illegal weapons and drugs — the only difference being that these goods are human, though to their handlers they are wholly expendable.

Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery
By Siddharth Kara – 2008
Kara provides a compelling overview of sex trafficking and lays out a framework for abolition.

Slaves No More
By Rita Giaretta – 2009
Giaretta writes about Casa Ruth, a community that works to improve an Italian legal structure that fails to crack down on modern-day slavery.

By Patricia McCormick – 2006
The story of Lakshmi, a 13 year old from Nepal who is sold into prostitution in India by a father addicted to gambling.


This list was compiled by the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. Many of these works are available for rent in the US through Netflix or at Blockbuster Video.

Amazing Grace (2007; 111 minutes) – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
This film is based on the life of antislavery pioneer William Wilberforce. Wilberforce was elected to the British House of Commons at the age of 21. On his way to a successful political career, Wilberforce took on the English establishment and persuaded those in power to end the inhumane trade of slavery in the British Empire.

Anamika: Documentary (2005; 26 minutes)
Exposing the issues of child commercial sexual exploitation in India, this documentary delves into the very real product of the sex trade, including both physical and mental destruction.

Angel’s Ladies (2000; 80 minutes)
A documentary about the inner workings of a Nevada brothel.

Anonymously Yours (2002; 90 minutes)
Four women’s stories are woven together in this documentary about Burma’s sex trafficking trade.

Bangkok Girl (2005; 42 minutes)
19-year-old Pla tells of her experience managing to avoid prostitution while working in a bar in Thailand since the age of 13, and how with time she will inevitably be forced into the trade.

Born into Brothels (2004; 85 minutes)
Taking on a very different vantage point than most films on the subject, this documentary focuses not on prostitutes in India, but on their children.

Bought and Sold (1999; 42 minutes)
Produced and directed by WITNESS director Gillian Caldwell, this documentary investigates the illegal traffic of women in the former Soviet Union, as well as the groups that are helping them.

Bucharest Express (2003; 15 minutes)
Enticed falsely by offers of job opportunities as dancers and models, women are trafficked from the Balkans to become sex slaves in Turkey.

Cargo: Innocence Lost (2008; 75 minutes)
This documentary includes interviews from the nation’s leading authorities on trafficking and from victims of modern-day slavery themselves.

Carissa (2008; 23 minutes)
A documentary about a woman who was abandoned as a child. She became a prostitute at 12 and eventually was able to turn her life around.

Children For Sale (2005)
Dateline NBC exposes sex tourism and child sex trafficking in Cambodia.

The Children We Sacrifice (2003; 61 minutes)
Grace Poore’s documentary delves into the many aspects of incest, ranging from cultural attitudes to effective treatments for survivors, and focuses on social and cultural resistance in South Asia.

The Day My God Died (2003; 55 minutes)
The Day My God Died tells the story of the countless girls sold into the sex trade in Bombay and the brave souls working to defend them.

Demand (2007; 45 minutes) – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
This documentary exposes the men who buy commercial sex, the vulnerable women and children sold as commodities, and the facilitators of the sale within the marketplace of exploitation.

Diary of a Sex Addict (2001; 93 minutes)
A middle-aged chef in a luxurious restaurant reveals to his shrink his double personality: He is an impeccable family man who loves his wife and son and, at the same time, a sexually hungry person who seeks pleasure at any time with any woman.

Dreamworlds 3 (1995; 54 minutes)
This film analyzes the stories behind contemporary music videos and discusses how they affect the public’s view of femininity, masculinity, sexuality, and race.

The Dutch Showcase
This documentary is about the legalized prostitution in Holland and shows that prostitution is slavery whether it is legal or not.

Dying to Leave (2004; 104 minutes)
This two-part documentary explores the issue of human trafficking and tells the story of a girl trafficked to Australia then sold into prostitution for three years.

The Dark Business of Human Trafficking (2004; 57 minutes)
This Wide Angle documentary explores the worldwide boom in illicit migration and human trafficking, recording the stories of those who pull up their roots and risk all — putting a human face on an issue too often reduced to statistics. It examines the circumstances that drive these migrants from their homes, highlights the difficulties involved in their epic journeys, and reveals what awaits them in their new world.

Fields of Mudan (2004; 23 minutes)
A young girl is forced into sex slavery in this moving short film. She befriends another girl in the brothel and dreams of freedom with her mother in America.

Ghosts (2006; 100 minutes)
A documentary that follows the story of victims of the 2004 Morecambe Bay cockling disaster, in which smuggled immigrants are forced into hard labor.

Girls from Chaka Street (1997; 15 minutes)
This short documentary tells the tragic story of Eva, a prostitute in Latvia, and many other underage girls like her.

Girl Trafficking (1994; 45 minutes)
Trafficked from the rural areas of Nepal into India for commercial sexual exploitation, this documentary-drama outlines the very real ordeal of many young girls, as well as the social ostracization they face with their resulting HIV/AIDS infection.

Highway to Hell (2000; 38 minutes)
Exploring the sex trafficking trade between Nepal and India, this documentary also takes on the unique perspectives of male clients in addition to those of the trafficked girls and their families.

Holly (2007; 114 minutes) – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
An American stolen artifacts dealer comes across a 12-year-old Vietnamese girl sold by her family into prostitution. The film focuses on the attempt to bring the girl to safety. It brings to light the effort to raise awareness about child trafficking and the K11 Project.

Human Trafficking (2005; 180 minutes) – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
This two-part mini-series starring Mira Sorvino and Donald Sutherland depicts the sex trafficking trade in Eastern Europe.

I am a Sex Addict (2005; 98 minutes)
An autobiographical comedy about a recovering sex addict, his obsession with prostitutes, and how it affected his relationships and his life altogether.

I am Elena
A short graphic clip that depicts the horrors of human trafficking.

The Johns (1997; 96 minutes)
A film about a homeless man who earns money by prostituting himself and robbing people.

Lady Zee (Leydi Zi) (2006; 96 minutes)
Zlatina has grown up in an institution for abandoned children. When she is 12, a group of boys plans to rape her. Zlatina manages to avert the rape by offering herself to the boarding house supervisor. As she seeks to start life anew, Zlatina keys Lechko, her devoted shadow, into robbing Nayden. She then decides to pass the Greek border pretending to be a prostitute… and ends up in a brothel where her worst nightmare becomes reality.

Lana’s Rain (2004; 105 minutes)
Lana and her brother Darko escape the war torn country of Balkans to achieve the American dream. But her illusions are shattered as she is forced to survive by any means possible on the mean streets of Chicago. As she gets pulled deeper and deeper into her brother’s criminal world while a steely determination grows in her heart, Lana must risk her own life to overcome Darko and his pursuers if she hopes to finally realize her dream.

Lilya 4-Ever (2002; 109 minutes) – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
At 16, in the former Soviet Union, Lilya is left by her mother, penniless, turning to prostitution and the horrifying life it entails.

Lives for Sale (2007; 58 minutes)
A one-hour investigative documentary exposes the painful, rarely seen human side of illegal immigration, including the growing black market trade in human beings.

Making of a Girl (2006; 5 minutes)
A short film, narrated by Rachel Lloyd, about a hypothetical girl facing a life of sexual exploitation.

MTV Exit: End Exploitation and Trafficking (2004; 55 minutes)
Includes Inhuman Traffic, a documentary about women being sexually exploited in Europe, and Parallel Lives, a series of short films about human trafficking.

The Price of Pleasure (2008)
A documentary about the pornography industry. Includes the perspectives of scholars, performers, and producers.

The Price of Sugar (2007; 90 minutes)
A documentary following a Dominican Priest as he exposes the abuse of Haitian slave laborers on a sugar plantation in the Dominican Republic. Ignoring warnings not to go on the sugar plantations, where the majority of his parishioners are, Father Hartley finds himself in utter dismay over the conditions of the workers. He fights to educate the parishioners on their rights and fight for justice.

Promised Land (2004; 88 minutes)
A film shown at the 2004 Venice International Film Festival about human trafficking from Eastern Europe to Israel.

Prostitution: Beyond the Myths (2007; 28 minutes)
This film depicts three women who have lived the life of prostitution, escaped the lifestyle, and are now living successful lives. The perspectives of various other people such as counselors, judges, and police officers are offered as well.

Respect Me Don’t Media Me (2005; 30 min)
This film looks at the way women are portrayed in the media and examines what this portrayal means to young women.

Remote Sensing (2001; 53 minutes)
This feature-length film explores the impact of US military presence in Southeast Asia and European migration politics on the global sex trade.

Sacrifice: The Story of Child Prostitution in Burma (1998; 50 minutes)
This documentary explores the economic, social, and cultural forces behind the sex trafficking of girls for debt bondage from Burma to Thailand.

The Selling of Innocence (2005; 88 minutes)
A young girl agrees to take photos for a modeling company that turns out to be a pornography company. The film follows her as she tries to shut the company down and get her images removed from the company’s website.

The Shanghai Hotel (2006; 110 minutes)
Twenty-two-year-old Yin Yin came to the US under the impression that she would be trained for a computer job. After a harrowing journey on a crowded and disease-infested cargo ship, she arrives at the Shanghai Hotel, a rundown brothel in New York City, where she is forced into slave labor and sexual exploitation.

Sex Slaves (2006; 60 minutes) – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
A PBS Frontline episode about five women from the struggling countries of Eastern Europe who were tricked into sexual slavery, beaten by traffickers and pimps, forced to work to turn a profit — and finally escaped. Plus, a convicted Ukrainian sex trafficker talks about the multibillion dollar sex trade business, and why he sold an acquaintance for $1,000.

Sisters and Daughters Betrayed (1996; 28 minutes)
Focusing on Thailand, Nepal, and the Philippines, this documentary delves into the social and economic factors driving sex trafficking, as well as the consequences for those women affected.

So Great a Violence (2000; 29 minutes)
This inspirational film calls on those with a voice to use their power to create political demand for the ending of sexual exploitation.

Spartan (2004; 106 minutes)
This film centers on the hunt for the daughter of a high ranking US official who has been kidnapped by an international sex slavery ring.

The Spot (2006; 92 minutes)
Based on the novel by Grigorii Riazhskii, this film is about the lives of three Russian prostitutes.

Stolen Lives (1999; 46 minutes)
This film looks at child prostitution through the eyes of the children who are being exploited. Those who are working to help children escape the sex trade are also profiled.

Stop the Traffick (2001; 27 minutes)
Set in Cambodia, Emily Marlow’s documentary explores the aftereffects of the Khmer Rouge’s brutal rule and how it has impacted the vulnerability of children in the region to the sex trade.

The Sugar Babies (2007; 95 minutes)
A documentary that highlights the plight of Haitian victims of human trafficking in the Dominican Republic.

Svetlana’s Journey (2008; 40 minutes)
Based on a true story, this documentary/drama describes the experience of a young Bulgarian girl sold by her adopted parents for only 10,000 Euros to another family for sexual exploitation.

Taken (2008; 93 minutes)
A film about girls who are trafficked with the purpose of being forced into prostitution.

Tijuana Makes Me Happy (2007; 79 minutes)
A young boy named Indio, who is growing up in Mexico, asks his father for a rooster for his fifteenth birthday. Since he cannot afford a rooster, Indio’s father buys him a night with a prostitute. Indio falls in love with the prostitute and does whatever he can in order to win her love.

Trade (2007; 119 minutes) – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
A girl from Mexico City is abducted into modern-day slavery; her brother goes on a quest to rescue her.

Trading Women (2003; 77 minutes)
Trading Women documents the sex trafficking trade in China, Thailand, and Burma, depicted as a local and international problem. Narrated by Angelina Jolie.

Trafficked (2005; 60 minutes)
Luigi Acquisto’s documentary explores the sex trafficking trade in Southeast Asia and Australia through former Australian Federal Police Officer Chris Payne.

Trafficking Cinderella (1999; 48 minutes)
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, there has been a marked increase in sex trafficking from the former Soviet Union to Western Europe and North America, as explored in this film.

Turning a Corner (2006; 60 minutes)
A documentary that tells the stories of those affected by the sex trade in Chicago; their efforts to raise awareness for necessary policy reforms are revealed.

Very Young Girls (2007; 84 minutes) – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
This film follows 13- and 14-year-old girls in New York and the mistreatment and abuse that they endure as young prostitutes. Rachel Lloyd, a survivor herself, runs GEMS, a recovery center that is also discussed in the film.

The Virgin Harvest (2006; 112 minutes)
After decades of civil war, Cambodia’s proud ancient culture has been shattered and the family base has been broken. In this gap, a flourishing child trafficking industry has evolved. Undercover equipment reveals the warped reality in which children are sold and smuggled across borders in order to entertain pedophiles from around the world. The girls tell their intimate and chilling stories with the sensitive help of two women who have risked their lives in order to fight the sex trade.

The Virgin Trade: Sex Lies and Trafficking (2006; 54 minutes)
A documentary that focuses on Thailand’s red light districts and international sex tourism.

Your name is Justine (Masz na imie Justine) (2006; 97 minutes)
A young woman from Poland travels around Europe with her boyfriend. When they arrive in Germany, he sells her into prostitution. The film follows the woman’s attempt to free herself.