Global Survival Network's Footage for Bought & Sold Documentary


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Collection Background:

Bought & Sold: An Investigative Documentary About the International Trade in Women, filmed between 1995-1997, investigates the illegal trafficking of women out of Russia and into Asia, Europe and the United States through interviews with trafficked women, traffickers, law enforcement officials, social workers, and mafia members in Russia, eastern Europe, and Japan. In partnership with WITNESS, Steve Galster, Executive Director, and Gillian Caldwell, Co-Director of the non-governmental organization Global Survival Network, filmed and conducted the investigative journalism for the documentary. In order to gain entry to trafficking networks, Galster and Caldwell established a dummy business that claimed to import foreign women. To the extent permissible by law, Galster and Caldwell secretly filmed in the environments in which trafficked women worked. Whenever possible, Galster and Caldwell disclosed their research intentions. The film was released in 1997 and received widespread media coverage in the US and abroad, including specials on ABC Primetime Live, CNN, and BBC.

After ending her term as Co-Director for the Global Survival Network, Caldwell served as Executive Director of WITNESS for 10 years.

The 83 tapes of raw footage were filmed on the Hi8 video cassette format. Due to the sensitive nature of the content, some of the collection footage is restricted.

Browse All Videos:

[Interview with Dr. Lola Karimova, AESOP Center, Moscow, part 2]

Video 1 of 1

Second part of interview (in Russian) with Dr. Lola Karimova of the AESOP Centre in Moscow. She continues to talk about sex workers in Moscow and the women she has been in contact with. She says she is most concerned about street prostitutes, and wants to publish a small booklet for the women who work at the train station. She recounts a story of meeting an 11-year-old girl who was working as a prostitute. At the end of the interview, there is an MCU of the interviewer Natalia Blinkova re-asking all of the questions and looking off-screen, shot for video production purposes.

[Interview with Joanna Pióro from Aspasie and b-roll of red light district in Geneva]

Video 1 of 1

Gillian Caldwell interviews Joanna Pióro from Association Aspasie. Aspasie is a Geneva-based organization that works on behalf of sex workers and women who have been trafficked. Pióro talks about the situation of foreign women who come to Switzerland with artist visas and work in cabarets. She explains that women come because they have the false impression they will make money and find a husband. She says that Aspasie regularly visits the hotels or flats where the sex workers live, but it is often difficult to get information about safe sex and AIDS to them because their agents and cabaret owners do not want to help them. Pióro also discusses how much sex workers earn, and explains that their traffickers often keep their passports until they pay off their debts.

[Interview with Koyo Kovott (FIZ) and b-roll of red light district in Zurich]

Video 1 of 1

Interview with Koyo Kovott from Frauen Informations-Zentrum (FIZ) / Women's Information Centre for Women from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe in Zurich. Kovott talks about the situation of women who are trafficked or who migrate to Switzerland and end up having to work in the sex industry. She says that Swiss immigration law makes it difficult for women, from Africa and Asia especially, to come to the country without a man unless she gets an artist visa to work as a dancer in a strip club. Kovott explains that women are recruited in many different ways, and that there are many professional agencies recruiting for cabarets and strip clubs. She also talks about the mail-order bride industry, another part of sex trafficking that targets women from Asia. Kovott says that the migration and trafficking of women is a global issue brought on by economic structural problems. She then talks about how migrant women are treated by police in Switzerland, Swiss laws about deportation, and how these laws affect trafficked women. Kovott also talks about the situation of migrant women who work in nightclubs, and the pressures they face. Kovitt talks about FIZ's services, including providing information and direct counseling. B-roll of the red light district in Zurich, including shots of nightclubs, sex shops, hotels, and naked women in a window.

[Interview with Tatiana Zabelina, Moscow Youth Institute / Interview with Dr. Lola Karimova, AESOP Center, Moscow, part 1]

Video 1 of 1

The first part of this video is an interview (in English) with Tatiana Zabelina from the Moscow Youth Institute. She founded the Center for Women, Family, and Gender Studies at the institute in 1993. She begins by talking about the work that the center has done, and their current project to provide organizational training and seminars for young women and for health service providers. Zabelina cites a poll that showed that 22% of girls were willing to have sex for money. She talks about problems with education, family structure, and poverty in smaller cities that lead to prostitution, and about the spread of AIDS related to prostitution. Zabelina says that the trade of women is controlled by the Mafia, and talks about a recent trial in Germany involving Russian sex workers who were murdered in a brothel. She says that girls are controlled by the Mafia because they have no rights in the countries they are in, have no support, and are afraid. Zabelina discusses various cases of child sexual exploitation, and says that the path to prostitution often begins with rape. Zabelina says that media plays a negative role, showing prostitution as a well-paid, easy, and safe profession. Since perestroika, problems are more openly discussed and there are more programs and organizations; however, women's sexuality is now being exploited in capitalist ways.Zabelina says that everyone involved in prostitution should be punished, and that there should be better control over companies that trade in women. She says there should be state-sponsored programs to help girls. At the end of the interview, there is a MS of interviewer Gillian Caldwell and Zabelina. Caldwell re-asks the questions from the interview for video production purposes. The second part of this video is the first part of an interview (in Russian) with Dr. Lola Karimova, director of the program for women's sexual wellness at the AESOP Center in Moscow. In the interview she talks about the increase in sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis due to social decline, migration, commercialization of sex, and the complete lack of sex education programs. She also talks about treatment for survivors of rape and marital rape, saying that doctors in Russia are not adequately trained. Dr. Karimova discusses prostitution in Russia, and her experience working with "elite" prostitutes. These women are highly educated, concerned about their health, and aware of diseases. They work as prostitutes to earn extra income. She also talks about working with street prostitutes, who are very young and do not know about basic hygiene and health. Dr. Karimova talks about the social relations between men and women in Russia. She says that men are not aware of women's problems, and tend to not share responsibility for children. In terms of the sexual culture in Russia, she says that during the transition from socialism, a "sexual revolution" took place in which pornography became readily available, but not sex education. The interview returns to the topic of prostitution. Dr. Karimova talks about a successful Dutch program that provided health education as well as practical information for prostitutes. She then tells a story about a young woman who ended up as a prostitute, transmitted sexual diseases to many johns, and was mistreated by police. Dr. Karimova also talks about the perception of prostitution in Russia.

[Night flight / Tverskaya Street, Moscow]

Video 1 of 1

Hidden camera footage shot by Steven Galster from a camera attached to his torso. Galster leaves his hotel, walks to a nightclub called Night Flight. Footage inside the club is extremely dark. Galster has some brief conversations in Russian, but they are barely audible over loud music in the club. Galster then leaves the club and walks on Tverskaya Street.