Holly and Human Trafficking

The movie Holly opened to limited release in April and was featured in Portland last night at the Hollywood TheatreHolly is about a young Vietnamese girl named Holly who was sold by her family to become a prostitute in Cambodia. A wandering American, Patrick (Ron Livingston from Office Space), accidentally comes upon her and a friendship blossoms. But Patrick leaves and Holly is sold to another brothel. When Patrick returns to try and buy her freedom he must go looking for the girl. It’s a powerfully moving story with superb acting, especially from Thuy Nguyen who plays Holly.

According to RedLightChildren.org 2 million children worldwide are a part of a multi-billion dollar criminal business that occurs in every country. “In 2002, while traveling in Phnom Penh, New York Lawyer Guy Jacobson encountered a barrage of young girls, some just 5-years old, aggressively soliciting prostitution. The horror was not lost on him. Shortly thereafter, he began gathering together a passionate group of advocates determined to protect young children in danger of becoming part of the global sex trade.” He created three films, one of which is Holly, in trying to expose the truth of human trafficking and prostitution.

The writer of the movie, Guy Jacobson, was also on hand and answered questions afterwards. He said that they filmed the movie in the capital of Cambodia where the story would have taken place. They filmed the brothel scenes in an actual brothel, which didn’t make the locals happy when they learned what the movie was about. INTERPOL, the international police organization, called up the production team, and told them they were nuts for filming the movie at that location. They said they were in the most dangerous city in the world and they needed to get the hell out of there. The production team refused. INTERPOL told them that the Chinese and Cambodian mafias had contracts out to kill them.

Holly has opened in numerous other cities and is still showing in Portland. It will be opening in Seattle next week. Chicago, Columbus, and Dayton are last on the list. Here’s the Time’s review. Watch the trailer here. View more clips here.