This Award-Winning Film On Child Trafficking Is A Must Watch

I Am Still Here picked up Best Feature at the Nice International Film Festival.

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While we were distracted by the glitz of the Cannes Film Festival, an important, brave film was quietly making waves one town over. A mere 40 minutes down the road, independent feature I Am Still Here took Best Feature at the Nice International Film Festival.

The film follows 10-year-old Layla, played by Aliyah Conley, during the first 48 hours of her abduction. She is sold into the sex trade and battles to escape the clutches of her captors.

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A word of warning: the trailer depicts some pretty harrowing stuff. In one scene Layla is curled up, crying in a bathroom while a man looms over her. In another she sobs 'I want my mummy' after waking up in a strange room, dizzy and disorientated.

It's a tough, but necessary watch. There's still a lot of work to be done to ensure victims of trafficking are protected by the law.

According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, sex trafficking will overtake drugs and weapons as society's most pervasive crime.

Nearly one million people are trafficked across international borders each year. Approximately 80 per cent are women and children, while nearly 50% of those are minors.

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I Am Still Here does an excellent job of portraying the real life atrocities for victims. Before beginning the film, director Mischa Marcus studied exhaustive research of real sex trafficking cases.

A child sex trafficking ring was also busted in a neighborhood close to the director, during her freshman year of college.

As she explains: 'Hearing this shook me to my core. I was raised to believe I live in our 'Land of the Free,' but that day, I discovered slavery, even of children, is still a very real problem.'

The next US screening will be on 1 June in Harlem, New York. A UK release is yet to be announced.

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