Myths & Realities

The Film

An aerial view of the rooftops and streets of Kamthipura, Bombay, India

Girls and women stand on the curb of a litter-strewn street in Kamthipura

Right: A small child stands in “the cages” behind a heavy iron gate in an alley in Kamthipura.

According to the United Nations, thousands of women and children throughout the world disappear each day to be sold into sexual slavery. Many of these are Nepalese girls who are abducted, often by someone they trust, and sold into sexual servitude in Kamthipura, a nightmarish red-light district in Bombay, India. Known as “the cages,” Kamthipura holds more than 200,000 young women and children in captivity, and for the majority of those who are brought here, it is also a death sentence.

A headshot of Gina smiling at the camera, wearing braids and a white beaded necklace.

The first night they forced me to have sex. When I refused, they held me down, beat me and raped me. I was seven years old.
						—Gina, trafficking survivor and AIDS victim

In Bombay alone, 90 new cases of HIV infection are reported every hour, and the victims are getting younger: two decades ago, most women in India’s brothels were in their twenties or thirties. Today, the average age is 14. Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins, THE DAY MY GOD DIED puts a human face on these abstract numbers as it recounts the stories of several Nepalese girls who were forced into the international child sex trade.

THE DAY MY GOD DIED lifts the veil of secrecy on child sex trafficking using footage from the brothels captured with spy camera technology. The film tells the stories of Gina, sold into sexual slavery at age seven, raped by 14 men and beaten with sticks and aluminum rods; Anita, lured by a friend, then drugged and sold to a brothel at age 12, where she was beaten and threatened with being buried alive; Maili, trafficked at age 19 along with her infant daughter who was seized and used as "insurance" to keep Maili from fleeing; and Jyoti, sold at age 12, raped, choked and forced to drink alcohol to break down her resistance.

The child sex trade is a highly organized syndicate that rivals the drug trade in profitability. The industry has formed a pipeline, which starts in the villages of Nepal and feeds a continuous supply of girls to the urban brothels. Recruiters capture them, smugglers transport them, brothel owners enslave them, corrupt police betray them and men rape and infect them. Every person in the chain profits except for the girls, who pay the price with their lives: 80 percent become infected with HIV.

...the girls are powerless to insist that men wear condoms, they suffer an 80 percent HIV/AIDS rate

Gary Haugen of the International Justice Mission stands with two young girls at the entrance to a blue building.
Gary Haugen of the International Justice Mission and Jyoti, a trafficking survivor, on a brothel rescue

A group of rescued girls sit and talk in a circle at a shelter.
Anuradha Koirala with the children at Maiti Nepal in Kathmandu

Harleen Walia smiles and stands arm in arm with three girls at a rescue and rehabilitation center, one of them playfully holds her chin.
Harleen Walia (center) at the Sanlaap shelter in Calcutta

But as THE DAY MY GOD DIED also shows, there is a growing movement from both within and outside of the brothels to put an end to this insidious crime. The film introduces some of the heroes of the movement to abolish child sex slavery, including Gary Haugen of the International Justice Mission, Harleen Walia of Sanlaap and Anuradha Koirala, the founder of Maiti Nepal. Each of these crusaders has risked his or her life to save girls and dismantle the web that enslaves them. The film documents one alliance with local officials, showing footage of a raid that exposed a system of secret passageways used to hide the girls. Seven girls were liberated in this raid, and the two brothel owners that are now in jail awaiting trial may be among the first abusers in Bombay to be sentenced for this crime.

Some of the rescued girls are lucky enough to find shelter at Maiti Nepal, a healing center where they learn skills and participate in arts programs that rebuild their spirits. A hospice has been established where AIDS-infected girls can die with dignity. These non-profit centers are under-funded and dwarfed by the size of the child sex trafficking trade. But this small group of heroes continues to fight for one life at a time. Some of the most courageous advocates are former sex slaves who risk their lives to save other girls. These victims have emerged to form their own underground railway to move sex slaves to freedom.

This heart-wrenching documentary provides a glimpse into the corruption and evil behind the curtain of the global sex industry, a world seldom seen by outsiders. But it is also a reminder that of the over one million women and girls who are sold, transported and forced into sexual slavery each year, 50,000 are in the United States. THE DAY MY GOD DIED exposes crimes that not only occur far away, but also far closer to home than we may have imagined.

Learn more about those working to end sex trafficking >>


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