Nefarious: Merchant of Souls – A Decade of Impact

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10 years ago, the film Nefarious debuted, shedding a bright light on the global issue of human trafficking. AIM’s Co-Founder, Don Brewster, was featured as a prominent voice in the fight against trafficking in Cambodia. Since then, both AIM and Exodus Cry – the organization behind the film – have grown exponentially. This means more girls have been rescued, more traffickers have been stopped, and more children have been protected!

There are hundreds of stories that could illustrate the impact and transformation that has occurred as a result of Nefarious. This documentary brought awareness to the enormity of the issue of human trafficking and pointed people to action. The growth we have experienced at AIM in the past 10 years has been due, in large part, to this film. This is a testament of how awareness has led to action. We want to share a story with you that is an example of what has happened in the lives of trafficking survivors because of this growth. 

Sophia* was sold to an American pedophile at the age of 12. After being rescued and sent to a transitional facility, she moved into AIM’s Restoration Home (ARH). In her words, “There was comfort staying there and the promise of a good education was fulfilled; however, more importantly, was that I felt loved.” Through her time at ARH,  Sophia felt the unconditional love of Christ that was radiating through the staff. She was comforted and counseled through sadness and trauma while being empowered to live a life of freedom that she was created for. ARH staff and the other girls there became her family. 

Soon, Sophia started to feel she was ready to continue her life outside of ARH and back in her family’s home. Against the suggestion of social workers and staff, she moved home with her mother and aunt. Shortly after, she was sold by her mother and aunt to a brothel in Cambodia where she lived for over a year. Through a series of horrendous events, she bravely escaped her traffickers and returned home where she was sold, once again, to foreign men who would take her for a few nights at a time. She was hurt and dejected. However, one night, she found a phone and called her social worker from ARH. She was soon rescued and taken back to the safety and care of ARH! 

*Sophia not pictured

Sophia was nervous about what the other girls and staff at ARH would think. Those fears melted away when she was welcomed back with love and acceptance at her Princess Ceremony – a celebration for survivors to emphasize their value and worth as Daughters of God! This stay at ARH was similar to before; Sophia describes it as getting her life back. She continued her education, vocational training, and counseling while being cared for and loved by the ARH community. 

When the time came, she and a few of the other girls from ARH moved into an apartment and began work with their newly learned skills. Though Sophia was out of ARH, her social worker continued to follow up and assist her through tough times. When she felt unsafe after a bad breakup, her social worker helped her relocate to a safe area. When family troubles arose, she knew she could turn to her social worker for help and support. Because of this support and empowerment, Sophia was never exploited again. In fact, after starting a job at AIM’s Employment Center, she met her loving husband. In 2014, when AIM formed a SWAT Team, she was recruited to join the team! 

When she started working with the SWAT team, Sophia wsa on the aftercare team. In this role, she was the first point of contact for many of the girls we rescue. When they were scared and confused, she was there to walk with them. Her experience put her in the unique position to relate to these girls and comfort them in a way that no one else could. Since then, she has transitioned to a role as an investigator, where she can use her knowledge and experience to track down traffickers and shut down brothels! 

Now, Sophia and her beautiful family are thriving. She has put her faith fully in Jesus. Her work on AIM’s SWAT Team brings many girls to freedom and into new life. Her life is a testament to the transformative power of Christ and the empowerment that is possible with freedom. 

“That’s why I love this job; because after the girls have been rescued, they need people to stay beside them, encourage them.”

Sophia*; Survivor of Sex Trafficking & AIM SWAT Investigator

Sophia is just one of the many stories of hope that was made possible by the film, Nefarious. A decade later, it is still relevant and insightful. Although the dark world of human trafficking is rapidly growing and changing, the underlying condition that fuels the industry is sin. But there is hope. God is working and survivors are being healed. Praise HIM for the growth and freedom that has come in the last 10 years.

Have you seen Nefarious yet? Grab a friend and check it out below!

*Pseudonym used to protect the identity of the survivor.

Watch Nefarious:

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In partnership with Exodus Cry

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