Last Thursday Drake University students packed Sheslow Auditorium for a showing of the documentary “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls.”
“The only way I had heard about sex trafficking was from ‘Taken,’” Caitlin Allen, first-year, said. “Nefarious” is a documentary on sex trafficking throughout the world, as well as a campaign to raise awareness and money.
Following director and producer Benjamin Nolot throughout Europe, Asia and the Unites States, modern-day sex slavery is exposed in emotional interviews and shocking statistics. Bone-chilling facts included the following: 2 million children worldwide are victims, 80 percent of all victims are women and children and the average age of a victim entering into the commercial sex trade is 13-years-old.
Emotions, including fear, were running high among students.
“It made me feel unaware. It’s literally happening everywhere. It’s shocking how quickly it’s growing and that it could happen to any ordinary girl,” Suzanne Rettley, sophomore, said.
Sophomore Charlie Jaschek, member of the social fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, was encouraged by his brothers to attend the documentary.
“We have a process of how to better yourself and how to be of strong mind and strong body, so we were encouraged to go because it would help us on our path of development,” Jaschek said.
“I was angry because it seems like it’s such an accepted thing in so many places, and I had no idea the extent to which it was happening,” said Jaschek after seeing the film.
One of the hardest things for viewers to comprehend was how close to home the issue of sex slavery actually was. Sophomore Jordan Beard, an Iowa native, was extremely concerned about the possibility of sex slavery in Des Moines and how necessary it was to raise awareness. “Nefarious” opened eyes to how widespread the illegal sex trade market truly is.
In response to the comparisons of sexuality between forced sex slaves and average women, first-year Sarah Grossman was disgusted.
“So many women just throw their bodies around,” Grossman said. “They don’t even realize what they’re throwing away when so many women don’t have any control. It’s not just eye opening, it’s heartbreaking.”
In a heartfelt discussion after the movie, volunteers explained the project in further detail and offered routes to help raise awareness across the country, all the while sharing their own stories of how the movie touched them, too.