“Our Daughters For Sale” is a 13-minute short film that centers on tackling underage sex trafficking in northern Thailand. According to the Children’s Organization of Southeast Asia (COSA), the Thai government continues to deny that this issue exists, although it is seen as a common practice amongst hill tribes. For many families, selling off a daughter’s virginity poses as necessary income, especially when each virgin is valued at 40,000 baht (equivalent to $1,200). Amongst these tribes, many believe that if one has more daughters, then the family is more rich.
Mickey Choothesa, the founder and president of COSA, created a shelter in northern Thailand in order to create a long-lasting improvement in child trafficking through education. Using an “up-stream” approach, COSA builds trust with local communities as a foundation for negotiation.
The film focuses on the work COSA has been and is currently doing for the cause. Locals that have been positively affected by COSA are interviewed, as well as Chootesa himself. Directed by Clara Simpson, the short documentary was produced on location by a student crew from Actuality Media and was shot primaril with a Canon XA10. The film itself does not have an official website, but COSA and Actuality Media have their own websites. Its budget is not explicitly stated, but according to the production organization, Actuality Media provides services to its student crews, such as an executive producer, production manager, location scout, additional editing, and anything else that is needed to complete the project.
The film has won the Atom Award for Best Tertiary Education Resource in 2012. It can be viewed on Vimeo and YouTube.
The documentary is effective in explaining COSA’s approach and how sex trafficking works in Thailand. Awareness and education is key to stopping this global epidemic. The film talks about COSA’s present and future. Although underage sex trafficking is an issue that affects countries from around the world, the documentary is optimistic and effectively demonstrates how a small NGO is improving the lives of children, one daughter at a time.