ECPAT-USA’s Screening of SOLD Unites Los Angeles to End Child Sex Trafficking


ECPAT-USA, will hold a special screening of SOLD the movie with guest appearances by David Arquette and breakout star Niyar Saikia at Regal Cinemas Live 14 on Tuesday, January 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

Sponsored by leaders in the travel sector including HRS Global Hotel Solutions, The Parking Spot, Delta Air Lines, Marriott International, and the The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Los Angeles LA LIVE, the event will align the Los Angeles community to put an end to child sex trafficking. Celebrities, government officials, the private sector, and the public will unite for the cause, raising funds and support for ECPAT-USA's mission to create a world where no child is bought, sold, or used for sex.

Based on true stories and adapted from the globally acclaimed novel by Patricia McCormick, SOLD is the story of Lakshmi who journeys from a pastoral, rural village in Nepal to a gritty brothel/prison called Happiness House in Kolkata, India. Through one extraordinary girl’s story, SOLD illustrates the brutality of child trafficking, which affects millions of children around the globe every year. SOLD is directed by Academy and Emmy award-winner, Jeffrey D. Brown and executive produced by two-time Academy Award winner, Emma Thompson.

The evening will kick off at 6pm with a reception in the Regal LA Premiere Lobby with drinks and fresh seasonal bites from Wolfgang Puck. SOLD will screen at 7:30pm, followed by a conversation with actors David Arquette and Niyar Saikia, the film’s producers Jeffrey Brown and Jane Charles, and ECPAT-USA. The discussion will take guests beyond the film and mobilize them to take action against trafficking in their own communities.

In addition to the screening and conversation, ECPAT-USA is thrilled to announce three luxury travel prizes for guests who support the cause to end child sex trafficking. Prizes include two luxury staycations in Los Angeles and a grand prize. The Grand Prize is a 5-night Luxury Getaway Package to San Francisco and Napa with 2 Delta Air Lines Comfort+ Tickets to San Francisco, a Ritz-Carlton San Francisco 2 night deluxe room, a Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa 3 night deluxe room with hot air balloon ride for 2 people, 60 minute Swedish massage for 2 people, EmpireCLS luxury transportation, and The Parking Spot parking for trip duration. One Luxury Staycation Prize in Los Angeles includes a Sheraton Grand Los Angeles 2 night stay, EmpireCLS luxury transportation, and 6 UCLA basketball tickets for February 12th game against Oregon State Beavers, including one parking pass. The other Luxury Staycation Prize in Los Angeles includes a Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites 2 night stay including overnight valet parking with a full breakfast at Lakeview Bistro.

For each $20 donation guests make online, they receive an entry for the staycations. For the grand prize, guests can also enter to win in person, at the event, by making a $20 donation. The winner of the grand prize will be announced at the event and must be present to win.

The event is free with donation and open to the public. All proceeds from night will go to support ECPAT-USA’s work to end child slavery.

For tickets and more information, visit

"I am thrilled to see the Los Angeles community join together to make this event happen," said Carol Smolenski, executive director of ECPAT-USA. "These partnerships will make a lasting impact in our work to protect children from sexual exploitation."

"We made SOLD as a tool for change and we are thrilled ECPAT will show SOLD to raise funds for their critical work," said Jeffrey Brown, the producer of the film SOLD. “ECPAT is the lead organization protecting children's rights in the U.S."

“The travel industry continues to make progress in building awareness and addressing some of the horrible realities brought to light by this film,” said Suzanne Neufang, vice president of the Americas for HRS. “ECPAT-USA’s work on this front is to be commended, and we pledge to work closely with our industry peers to drive both education and preventative action where we can.”

"As a leading global lodging company, Marriott International is committed to supporting and respecting human rights within our sphere of influence," said Tu Rinsche, director of corporate social responsibility. "We will continue to work with leading organizations, such as ECPAT-USA, and the broader industry to address human trafficking globally."

"The Parking Spot is honored to support ECPAT-USA's work to end child slavery at the source," said Kent Dennis, senior sales manager at The Parking Spot. "The SOLD screening is not only a chance to educate people about the issue of child trafficking, but it gives us the opportunity to team up and discuss the issue."

ECPAT-USA works directly with the travel industry to protect commercially sexually exploited children. Learn more here.

SOLD the Movie and Trafficking in Real Life: 5 Truths

Earlier this month, thanks to our supporter Annie Ugurlayan, we screened the new trafficking film SOLD. The film, based on Patricia McCormick's novel with the same title, follows the journey of Lakshmi, a 13-year-old rural Nepali girl who is trafficked to a Kolkata brothel after accepting a phony position as a domestic worker. While Lakshmi’s story is shocking, the film presents many real life scenarios that trafficked children experience around the world. Here are five truths from the film:



MOVIE: Lakshmi is lured into trafficking under false pretenses. She believes she is going to the city for domestic work and hopes to send money to her family back home.

TRUTH: Many victims of trafficking believe they are signing up for something else, such as regular domestic work, a job in shop or restaurant, or the promise of a great opportunity. Sometimes victims believe they are in a loving relationship with their trafficker.



MOVIE: The men who come to the brothel are from all walks of life. They are young, old, rich and poor.

TRUTH: Sex buyers do come from all walks of life. They are rich and poor, young and old. They are married, in a relationship or single.




MOVIE: In SOLD, Lakshmi’s friend Monica eventually pays off her debt to the brothel owner, Mumtaz, and returns home to her family. After a short time at home, Monica returns to the brothel.

TRUTH: Many children who are trafficked end up going back to their former captors. Why? Sometimes, like Monica, they are rejected by their families after returning home. Often they are shamed and ostracized by their communities, facing a stigma so great that they are unable to secure regular work. Many victims of trafficking are unaware of their rights and fear further punishment and abuse if freed.




MOVIE: Girls at Happiness House dream of freedom, but are afraid to leave the brothel. They are uncertain who to trust. Even individuals that offer help are met with skepticism. When a police unit raids the brothel, the girls hide, fearful of being arrested or beaten by the police.

TRUTH: In many cases, victims of trafficking fear arrest or imprisonment, whether these fears are well-founded or not. In the United States, while children and victims of trafficking are protected under the law, victims may be unaware of their rights. Unbelievably to this day, some countries charge trafficking victims, and even children, with prostitution.




MOVIE: Sophia, a photographer and traveller played by Gillian Anderson, notices Lakshmi in the window of the brothel as she’s taking photos from the street. She immediately recognizes that something isn’t right and reports her suspicions to the authorities. She sets in motion the chain of events that lead to Lakshmi’s freedom.

TRUTH: You can help. Learn the signs of trafficking so you can report suspicious behavior and set in motion the chain of events that leads to someone’s freedom. Here are 11 signs of trafficking to look out for as you travel:

• Minimal luggage/clothing

• Lack of access to travel documents and money

• Victim seems disoriented and lost

• Victim lacks physical and verbal autonomy

• Lack of adequate language skills for foreign victims

• Trafficker is seen with many young children

• Trafficker insists on paying solely in cash

• Victim and trafficker have minimal interaction and eye contact with others, especially with staff

• No evidence of return ticket; may have tickets to multiple destinations

• Victim has indications of physical and emotional abuse

• Evidence of branding on victims indicating ownership i.e. “Daddy’s girl”

If you have any information about the sexual exploitation of a child in the U.S. or abroad, CALL the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888


Take action and bring SOLD to a theater near you.

Learn more about SOLD and find current screenings here.

ECPAT-USA Supporters: Marathoner Annie Ugurlayan Uses 26.2 Miles to Fight Sex Trafficking

This is part of a series of blog posts about individuals, families and corporations who use their time and talents to benefit of ECPAT-USA and to raise awareness about the issue of child sex trafficking. These people have taken it upon themselves to educate others in their own ways and have allowed us to grow our network more than we could on our own. We do not take credit for their actions, but we are endlessly thankful for their support.

Name: Annie Ugurlayan

Age: 41

Occupation: Lawyer

Annie Ugurlayan is a runner. After her first marathon, she was hooked, and when she and her friends wanted to run 26.2 miles abroad, they signed up for the Edinburgh marathon. Annie chose to also use the event to raise $1000 for ECPAT-USA.

To educate others about the issue, this September, Annie is hosting a screening in New York of the film SOLD, which tells the story of Lakshmi, a girl who journeys from a pastoral, rural village in Nepal to a gritty brothel in Kolkata, India. Read on to learn how you can attend the screening, what the issue of sex trafficking means to Annie and why running a marathon is mostly a mental game.


Why did you first start running marathons?

I’ve been a runner for a long time. Not a long distance runner, but short distances.  I would watch the New York City marathons on TV and thought it would be really cool to run a marathon one day. When I finally ran one, I got hooked. I just loved it: the feeling of being pushed to your limits, being able to do something that you never thought that you would, being able to push through it mentally was just amazing.


What was the most challenging part of the Edinburgh marathon?

It’s very windy in Edinburgh. You make a loop and once you go around the corner and go back, the wind that was behind you is now in front of you. The weather was very challenging: you were running against 40-mile an hour wind, there was horizontal rain for one mile. I was thinking, if I finish this, it will be a miracle.


How did you find out about the issue of sex trafficking?

I found out about it a couple of years ago. I’m on the board of the New York Women's Bar Association Foundation. We usually have two fundraisers a year. For one of the fundraising breakfasts, we invited Rachel Lloyd [founder of GEMS, a New York organization for girls and women who have experienced sex trafficking] and Pamela Chen, a judge now, who used to prosecute human trafficking cases. We found out how hard it is to prosecute these cases. A lot of the girls seem to have a connection with their trafficker.

It really spoke to me because it’s sexual slavery. It’s happening on our front door step. These are just kids.


Why is sex trafficking an important issue for you?

The notion of modern slavery, it just shocks the conscious. To think that there are kids who are literally taken off the street and sold into slavery, it’s just a horrifying thing. It destroys a generation of kids. It’s psychologically damaging and physically damaging, obviously. These kids should be learning. They should be in a loving environment. The notion that they would be exploited this way is just terrible.


Have you seen SOLD already?

I have. It’s excellent. When I found out that interested individuals can organize screenings, I wanted to do one. It’s set in southeast Asia, but the story of Lakshmi is the story of any girl who is the victim of sex trafficking.


Why should someone attend a screening of SOLD?

They should attend because I think it’s important to raise awareness about this epidemic that’s happening locally. I think a lot of people, like I did, have this idea that this is an international epidemic confined to Thailand and Southeast Asia. Not to say that it’s ok when it happens there, but this is a worldwide problem. This can happen in any community. I think the more you know, the more everybody can do something to help us. It’s really about the importance of education and awareness.


For tickets to Annie’s SOLD screening in Astoria, NY, click here.

To learn more about how you can host your own SOLD screening, click here.

To join our ECPAT Athletes team, click here.