I sat down this week with Guy to hear more about the opening of his film Redlight, produced and narrated by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Lucy Liu.
Having built a reputation of orphan care around the world known as Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW), and being a new friend of Cambodian legend, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Mu Sochua, I am familiar with the plight of sexually abused children. But the staggering figure of 2.5 million children aged 18 months to 18 years exploited for their young bodies made my skin crawl. They can be raped 20 – 30 times a day, and up to half of them will die from shock, torture, drugs, and/or AIDS.
Two women are featured in the film, grassroots activist Somaly Mam and politician Mu Sochua. Filmed over a four year period, the incredibly moving Redlight focuses on the personal stories of the victims and two remarkable advocates for change in a nation that lived through the Killing Fields. Both women have since been nominated for the Noble Peace Prize and won other numerous human rights awards around the world. See the film’s trailer on Vimeo.
This powerful, must-see film opens in New York City this Monday night, June 21, with a red carpet affair, followed by a VIP reception featuring celebrity guests. Tickets are also available to the general public.
Expected guests for the star-studded event include Ambassador Mark Lagon, Alyse Nelson, president and C.E.O. of Vital Voices, Cecilia Attias, Richard Attias, producer of the World Economic Forum in Davos, and Global C.E.O. Andrew Prozes of LexusNexus. A heavy media turnout is anticipated.
The Honorary Host Committee includes Congresswoman Congressmember Carolyn B. Maloney, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Lauren Bush, Lucy Liu, and Abigail Disney, among others. The event is sponsored in part by LexisNexis.
In 2000, Guy left the intersection of investment banking and law here in NYC to spend two years travelling the world. In Phnom Penh he walked down one street where he was surrounded by a large group of girls competing to offer his sexual favors in exchange for cash. Just as my first visit to an orphanage ‘warehouse’ led to my epiphany, Guy’s experience with these girls led to his life commitment to end the plight of red light children, leading him to found an organization to help end exploitation by the same name.
The Redlight Children Campaign originally aimed at pressuring governments to enact or amend legislation to address this issue more effectively and allocate more resources towards enforcement of laws. This has proven to be difficult. Now, in addition to the original strategy, Guy wants to make it more difficult and costly for perpetrators to sexually abuse children. Redlight Children has partnered with LexisNexis to create both an international case law database for trafficking, and a trafficking offenders database to assist lawmakers and prosecutors.
Today, in addition to making films, Guy teaches at graduate level class at New York University.
According to RedLightChildren.org:
Every single day children are kidnapped or stolen and forced into the global, multi-billion dollar sex industry. Interpol estimates that this trafficking of children and young women is the third largest international criminal activity.
Its scope is shocking. According to UNICEF, over two million children are involved — from kids around the world who are kidnapped from their families to children victimized on the internet via community sites and chatrooms.
To effectively counter the violent mobs who control child exploitation around the world, Guy turned to his artistic past and decided to incorporate film with law and finance. He began Priority Films. He understood that to solve a problem, he had to first bring people to the realization that such a problem existed. He chose to do this through film, using the law and financial pressure to provide a cutting-edge solution. His film company is a cutting edge ‘micro studio’ with a focus on low budget, high quality, commercial films. He has created a strong grassroots approach to film, producing the K11 Project, the most comprehensive film project about child trafficking and child prostitution to date.
See also by Jim Luce
Sweden’s Queen Silvia on “Fire Souls” — Leaders in Child Protection (Stewardship Report)
Cambodian Parliament Member Mu Sochua Speaks on Lack of Human Rights at Home (Stewardship Report)
Children’s Rights: Protecting Foster Care in the U.S. (Stewardship Report)
New York Center for Children Offers Hope after Child Abuse (Stewardship Report)
Who Was Chea Vichea and Why Does He Matter? Ask Filmmaker Bradley Cox (Stewardship Report)
Saying “No” to Recruiting Child Soldiers (Stewardship Report)
“Vital Voices” Honors Andeisha Farid in Washington (Stewardship Report)
Follow Jim Luce on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jimluce
The Luce Index™
99 – Cecilia Attias
99 – Queen Silvia
99 – Swanee Hunt
98 – Susan Sarandon
95 – Guy Jacobson
94 – Carolyn B. Maloney
94 – Hillary Clinton
93 – Somaly Mam
92 – Mu Sochua