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The Price of Sex
A film by Mimi Chakarova
US, 2011, 73 minutes, Color, DVD, English/Russian/Turkish/Bulgarian, Subtitled
Order No. W111028
An unprecedented and compelling inquiry, THE PRICE OF SEX sheds light on the underground criminal network of human trafficking and experiences of trafficked Eastern European women forced into prostitution abroad. Photojournalist Mimi Chakarova’s feature documentary caps years of painstaking, on-the-ground reporting that aired on Frontline (PBS) and 60 Minutes (CBS) and earned her an Emmy nomination, Magnum photo agency’s Inge Morath Award, and a Webby for Internet excellence.

Filming undercover with extraordinary access, even posing as a prostitute to gather her material, Bulgarian-born Chakarova travels from impoverished rural areas in post-Communist Eastern Europe, including her grandmother’s village, to Turkey, Greece, and Dubai. This dangerous investigative journey brings Chakarova face to face with trafficked women willing to trust her and appear on film undisguised. Their harrowing first-person accounts, as well as interviews with traffickers, clients, and anti-trafficking activists, expose the root causes, complex connections, and stark significance of sexual slavery today.


Winner of the 2011 Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting
2012 American Library Association Notable Videos for Adults List
2011 Nestor Almendros Award for courage in filmmaking, Human Rights Watch Film Festival

  • 2011 Sarasota Film Festival, World Premiere
  • Human Rights Watch Film Festival
  • Silverdocs Documentary Festival
  • Hawaii International Film Festival
  • Vancouver International Film Festival
  • Hamptons Int'l Film Festival
  • Denver International Film Festival
  • St. John's Int'l Women's Film Festival
  • Amnesty International Film Festival
  • US Embassy Ottawa
  • Beloit International Film Festival
  • Documentary Edge Film Festival
  • Reykjavik Shorts&Docs Festival
  • Chicago International Film Festival
  • Pravo Ljudski Film Festival

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    "Her poignant documentary has given these women a collective voice to expose the nightmare they endured… [the] harrowing film takes an unflinching look at the very real price of sex for these women who have suffered unimaginable pain and suffering."
    The Huffington Post

    “Fearlessly researched and undeniably urgent…indefatigably follow[s] the harrowing path of human sex trafficking…”
    Eddie Cockrell

    “It’s a piece made to build awareness and activism. …it is a powerful look into a world that we, as Americans, are not used to seeing.”
    Austin Glidden

    “The portraits of the women featured in the film are powerful and heart-rending… Suitable for some mature high school classes and for college courses in cultural anthropology, anthropology of women/gender, anthropology of globalization/neoliberalism, and Eastern European studies, as well as general audiences.”
    David Eller
    Anthropology Review Database

    "…the film offers uniquely personal insight into a major criminal enterprise that destroys the lives of countless young women…recommended."
    Video Librarian

    “Chakarova never makes judgments: She just gives the women a chance to speak about their experiences. The viewer, however, gleans a desire for them to exist outside that industry; to effectively end, not just document, that cycle of abuse.”
    Bitch Magazine

    "More than simply bashing patriarchy or capitalism or globalization, Chakarova instead exposes the complexities and corruptions at their intersections, taking care to humanize, rather than exploit, her brave subjects. The poignant stills, gritty undercover footage, and squirm-worthy interviews with those who surround these young women weave together a narrative that pulls few punches but demands viewers' attention. The storytelling and visual composition alone make this film absolutely captivating."
    Catherine Orr
    Women’s and Gender Studies, Beloit College

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    The Price of Sex is included in the following Special Collections.
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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us