What is SOLD?
Much more than just an exhibit, SOLD is a multi-sensory experience that will educate you on the shocking reality of human trafficking, both locally and globally. Participants will be immersed into the lives of victims in nine different parts of the world. SOLD challenges participants to respond to human trafficking with justice, mercy and humility.
Participants will listen as they become the main character in the story of a different victim of human trafficking in each room. These stories are dramatized accounts based on actual events.
The goals of SOLD are to educate and move to action. We hope each person will come away with an increased awareness of human trafficking and a better understanding of how to address it. We also hope each person will be inspired to take small steps to live each day with justice and mercy. Finally, we hope that attendees will begin to grapple with the deeper issues of God's love and sovereignty and justice, the evil in the world, and their own part in God's plan of bringing justice.
An experience is born
A drive, a dream, and an opportunity. Three friends (L to R in photo: Amber, Jessica, and Krista) met at a coffee shop to dream up ways to address human trafficking. Because of a generous opportunity to receive a grant from Bethel Church through the NExT Campaign, we knew we could dream big. We wanted to do something that was bigger than ourselves, that we couldn't do without God's help. And SOLD was born.
With help from local businesses, friends, family, and nearly 150 volunteers from our church, SOLD was designed, built, decorated, researched, written, and produced in about six months. SOLD: The Human Trafficking Experience debuted at Bethel Church in May 2012. Since then, SOLD has been traveling throughout the Northwest and California. The response has been overwhelming. We are truly humbled and honored to see God working in and through this project, and are excited to see where He will take it!
Is this a free event? Is this a fundraiser?
There is no cost to attend SOLD. Our goal is to raise awareness, not funds. Books are sold at cost for education about human trafficking and related issues. T-shirts are sold to promote awareness. Products made by survivors of sex trafficking in Agape International Mission's Agape Restoration Center are available, and all proceeds from those sales go directly to AIM. We recognize that some will want to give a donation. We accept these with our thanks. Funds from t-shirts, books, and donations will cover costs for SOLD and the SUDS Outreach to local hotels.
What should I bring?
You don't need to bring a thing. But if you have a smartphone, there will be a few more options for you throughout the experience. You can also load the audio onto your own device to use as you go through the experience and to keep as long as you like. You may bring your own headphones if you like. You may also want to have money to purchase some books or products.
Can I bring my kids?
Due to the sexual and violent nature of many of these crimes, the material may not be suitable for children. It is not recommended that children under the age of 13 experience SOLD. Copies of the script are available for parents and caregivers who would like to review it before making a decision. If you must bring children, we recommend that they not listen to the audio. There are still some visuals (e.g. chains, red paint that looks like blood) that may be disturbing to children.
Is there anything else I should know before I come?
If you have a previous history of sexual abuse, certain scenes in this experience may be re-traumatizing or bring up past wounds. You may want to skip rooms 4 (Jordan), 8 (Cambodia), and 9 (USA - Motel) or go with a trusted friend.
Why would you do this? You'll just upset people!
In SOLD, you will see, hear, and experience stories of tragedy and triumph lived out. You won't like what you experience. But that's the point: Evil flourishes in secret. This experience will shine light into secret places no one wants to look. Our prayer is that you would find not only horror, but hope. Our goal is not to just make people upset. Our goal is to drive people to action.
Where do these stories come from? Are they true?
Most of the stories in SOLD are based on a compilation of true stories that have been dramatized for this production. The inspiration for each story is below.
South Sudan:Story inspired by Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Uganda's Children by Faith J.H. McDonnell and Grace Akallo; Chosen Books; Reprinted edition (June 1, 2007) and The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World by Richard Stearns; Thomas Nelson (May 4, 2010).
Yemen:Story inspired by "Yemen: Stop Using Children in Armed Forces"; and Human Rights Watch's 58-page report "All Quiet on the Northern Front?"; and "Al-Qaeda finds a foothold amid Yemen's poverty, fighting and corruption"
Haiti:Story inspired by accounts from Restavek Freedom Foundation in this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKmeoXtwC2c.
Jordan:Story inspired by accounts from: Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights report on Classic Brands Factory, June 2011 and Stephen Lendman's article "US-Style Free Trade's Dark Side" published July 28, 2011 in The People's Voice.
Mexico:Story inspired by: Project AK-47's interview with founder Marcus about recently rescued Donnie in "Featured Rescue: Donnie [Podcast]"; and Tyler Ward's report about Tiana in the blog post "3 Things to Celebrate in October!"; and Marcus' blog post "Featured Rescue: Alberto"; and Belen Zapata's article "Mother: Didn't know 13-year-old daughter was working for Zetas"
USA - Farm:Story inspired by Al Jazeera documentary "Food Chain Slaves" in the series "Slavery: A 21st Century Evil"; and Malia Zimmerman's article "Desperate, Deserted and Destitute, Thai Laborers Tell Their Stories About Their Journey to America"
India:Story inspired by Al Jazeera's "Bonded Slaves" in the series "Slavery: A 21st Century Evil"; and IJM's field report "From the Field: Kumar"
Cambodia:Story inspired by stories shared in person by Don and Bridget Brewster of Agape International Missions; IJM's field report "From the Field: Kunthy"; and by Not For Sale by David Batstone; HarperOne; Rev Upd edition (October 12, 2010).
USA - Motel:This story is inspired by the book Renting Lacy: A Story of America's Prostituted Children (A Call to Action) by Linda Smith. Shared Hope International; 1st edition (April 1, 2009). And by "Sex Trafficking of Americans: The Girls Next Door" by Amy Fine Collins in Vanity Fair posted May 2011
What about all your other claims?
We did our best to thoroughly research and verify every claim we made. The entire script with the notes and sources can be downloaded. If you believe you have found an error, we would be glad to correct it. Please contact us.
What can I do about human trafficking?
Though it is an overwhelming evil, the worst thing you can do is nothing. There are many excellent organizations doing great things, and many ways to partner with them. We have some suggestions of things you can do in our Plan for Action.
How can I talk to my kids about human trafficking?
Although this experience is not intended for children, it is important that children are aware of the dangers of human trafficking at age-appropriate levels.
For Elementary and Middle School StudentsUse books like Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and movies like Tangled to introduce topics related to human trafficking. Shiloh explores issues of justice related to an abused dog. There are several parallels to human trafficking. Tangled depicts a human trafficker (Mother Gothel) and her relationship with her victim. There are also several parallels between the grooming process of sex traffickers and the blooming relationship between Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder (especially when she thought he betrayed her). Although it turned out well in her case, that does not usually happen in the real world.
For Middle School StudentsAware is currently working on a curriculum for middle schoolers warning them of the dangers of sex trafficking.
For High School StudentsDeceptions and Illusions are two curricula for high school students to help them process the dangers of pornography and sex trafficking. IJM has Social Justice curricula for both Christian schools and public schools.
What can kids do to help?
There are lots of ways that kids can be involved! Some ideas:
- Organize or participate in a Red Hand Day event.
- Purchase and share fair trade items when its your turn to bring snacks to school and sporting events.
- Do a Reverse Trick-or-Treat.
- Do a bake sale or other fundraiser for your favorite anti-trafficking organization.
- Instead of gifts at your next birthday party, ask your guests to make a donation to your favorite anti-trafficking organization.
- Get more ideas at IJM's youth center.