The Inimitable Gillian Anderson

Golden Globe + Emmy-winning actor, star of SOLD, On the Global Business of Selling Children for Sex, Generating Billions of Dollars Every Year, and the Everyday Horrors of Human Trafficking in Her Film, SOLD

Maranda Pleasant: Your new film SOLD deals with the horrors of human trafficking. How deeply does this issue affect you emotionally?

Gillian Anderson: I simply cannot fathom the horrors of being enslaved, and the thought that children are ripped apart from their families and used year in and out for sex and hard labor under the threat of violence and death breaks my heart.

MP: Was there something you learned about human trafficking that you didn’t know before you started the film?

GA: That human trafficking is a globally assisted pandemic that generates billions of dollars of income a year.

MP: What is one of the most shocking things about trafficking that you learned?

GA: There are so many shocking things. Is it more shocking that there are children sold into slavery in every city in the world and right under our noses or that there are villages in Nepal where there are no children left because they have all been kidnapped for sex trafficking, or that there are generations of slaves in some countries where indentured slavery passes from generation to generation and that kids grow into adults not knowing that another world—another life—exists?

MP: Why is it so important that we empower women + girls right now?

GA: It is always important, but right now the topic of female empowerment is at the forefront of conversation and it’s important we take advantage of the trend while there is added pressure to adjust long-standing beliefs, prejudices, and cultural discrimination.

MP: How are girls/kids viewed in this world and do you think there’s a global epidemic of disregarding women?

GA: Unfortunately, the belief that women are a minority is endemic in most cultures around the world. Obviously some take it to the extreme where violence against women is legal and supported and in other cultures it is more subversive and easy to dismiss as “progress.”

MP: How can we get involved and shift things? What can we do?

GA: We have to raise the status of girls and women in every country. It’s a proven fact that when you raise the status of girls and women in a country, that country does much better economically. Education is key. We have to keep girls in school and give them the same opportunities that boys have. They need access to vocational training and mentorship, as well. It’s an issue of gender equality, which is fortunately a hot topic right now, but we need to keep at it and not rest on our laurels. There’s a lot of work to be done.