At a time when many sometimes consider topics such as race, homosexuality and war to be taboo subjects, films like Selma, American Sniper and The Imitation Game are gaining huge success behind their respective social message plotlines. In 2014, the issue of sex trafficking sparked global outrage and inspired and online campaign, “Bring Back Our Girls” but “Lost Girls” will delve deeper and shed light on the problem globally as filming just completed for the first installment.
“Lost Girls,” starring Bar Paly (Pain and Gain, Non-Stop) Marisol Nichols (Vegas Vacation, NCIS, 24), Jamie Harris (Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Siena Goines (The Young and The Restless), Cristina Cibrian and Rena Owen, will raise awareness of the important issue of sex trafficking happening across the United States.
“Lost Girls,” will be the first in a series of short films directed by Hollywood veteran, Julia Verdin. Verdin has producing credits including 30 critically acclaimed films such as “Merchant of Venice” starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons, and most recently “2 Jacks” starring Sienna Miller, Danny Huston and Jack Huston.
Verdin, who is passionate about this issue of sex trafficking, has gathered star names from her Hollywood friends to jump on board and raise awareness on sex trafficking of minors in the U.S. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), there are about 300,000 kids who are trafficked in the U.S. every year. Furthermore, the International Labor Organization 2014 report indicates sex trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the 21st century as a $150 billion dollar business. It is the 3rd largest criminal enterprise after weapons and drugs with one difference, guns and drugs cannot be resold over and over again.
The story of “Lost Girls” is set in Los Angeles. California harbors three of the FBI’s 13 highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. The Lost Girls films aim to raise awareness of the under-reported reality of human trafficking through the portrayal from survivor’s perspective. The film is emphasizing the need for parental diligence and education to prevent the youth of today to this threat due to the influence of glamor, internet and social media.
Not only will Verdin direct the films, she is donating her time and services on the project, as well as partially funding the endeavor. The rest came from a successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Verdin stated, ”I want to use the medium of film to make a contribution towards this terrible and growing problem and to use the skills I have as a filmmaker to raise awareness and educate about sex trafficking in 21st century America.’’
Actress Marisol Nichols, who plays the role of Romina in “Lost Girls” is a long time fighter against this cause ”People aren’t aware of it and they think it only happens in Thailand, Africa or the Philippines, but that’s not all; it happens here – in America,” Nichols added. ‘’It’s happening with girls who are walking to school or they are taken at a mall. The reason it is able to flourish so much it’s because no one knows about it, it’s kept a secret.’’
Verdin hopes to enter “Lost Girls” to film festivals to raise awareness of general public and pass them on to the anti-sex trafficking organizations such as Saving Innocence, CAST LA and NCMEC to hold screenings with Q&A sessions. These organizations are helping the Lost Girls team along the way to make the stories as authentic as possible with real facts and behavior.