Actress Gillian Anderson says horror of child trafficking cast her in real-life role

Feted for playing an FBI agent in “The X-Files” tackling the supernatural, actress Gillian Anderson has cast herself in the real-life role of an anti-slavery campaigner after being shocked at the scale of the problem.

Anderson said she had been unaware up to 46 million people globally were living as slaves, generating an estimated $150 billion in illegal profits a year, until she became involved in the film “Sold”.

Based on a book about a Nepali girl trapped in the sex trade, “Sold” follows 13-year-old Lakshmi as she fights to escape the red-light district of Kolkata, India.

In the film Anderson’s role is inspired by real-life U.S. photographer, Lisa Kristine, known for documenting victims of modern day slavery trafficked into forced labor, sold for sex, trapped in debt bondage or born into servitude.

The film is being screened in London on Wednesday at Trust Women, an annual women’s rights and trafficking conference run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Describing slavery as a pandemic, Anderson said it was shocking that so many people are living as slaves today in every country across the globe, from India to the United States.

Gillian Anderson and David Arquette on Their Emotional Movie about Sex Trafficking

When Gillian Anderson signed on to be part of the upcoming film Sold about the human rights issue of sex trafficking, she quickly realized the role would mean more to her than most.

“It really wasn’t saying yes to the role,” Anderson tells PEOPLE. “It was saying yes to being a part of the global conversation, saying yes to being an activist in this movement against trafficking to help get people educated.”

The film, based on the best-selling novel by Patricia McCormick, tells the harrowing story of a young girl who risks her life in a desperate attempt for freedom after being sold and trafficked from her village to a brothel in India.

The actress notes that while the film focuses on the story of one girl, she hopes it will help open people’s eyes to a larger global issue and motivate change.

“The film itself is just a vehicle because the movement the film is stirring up is the most vital part of it,” she explains. “People are just simply not aware of just how prevalent it is. It’s estimated that 1.8 million children are trafficked each year. This is something we can’t ignore.”

Anderson’s costar, David Arquette, expresses a similar sentiment, calling Sold, “the most important film I’ve ever been a part of.”

“The message just goes so far beyond what’s on screen,” he tells PEOPLE. “People don’t want to talk about things like this until it’s out there, so we did just that – we put it out there.”

Both Anderson and Arquette are helping spread the word about the film through a newly launched campaign that helps raise funds to get Sold shown across the world. Along with screening the film, the money raised will support the film’s outreach campaign, TaughtNotTrafficked, which helps find solutions in order to prevent trafficking in high-risk areas.

Sold, directed by Jeffrey D. Brown, is currently playing in New York City and will open Friday in Los Angeles. Go to for more information.


CSW Panel Discussion On Role of Arts In Helping End Human Trafficking

Take a look in the gallery for HQ images of Gillian during yesterday interactive panel discussion on the Role of the Arts in Helping to End Human Trafficking today.

Gillian Anderson: Film ‘Sold’ aims to raise awareness of human trafficking

You know her best as FBI special agent Dana Scully from the hit show “The X-Files,” but now Gillian Anderson is bringing her star power to an important issue with her newest film, “Sold.” The movie tells the story of a young girl who’s sold into a human sex trafficking ring in modern-day India, and the lengths she goes to get her freedom back.

Gillian Anderson on why you should see “Sold”

Gillian Anderson wasn’t expecting to appear in the movie “Sold.” The actress, known for her role on “The X-Files,” had initially been approached by Oscar-winning director Jeffrey Brown (“Molly’s Pilgrim”) about just being part of the film’s campaign.

She immediately said yes because she felt passionate about the movie’s topic: the worldwide human rights issue of sex trafficking.

“There was really no role in it. There was one shot of a woman photographer. But [Brown] asked, would I read it? And if I liked it, would I be interested in being a part of the campaign. It looked like Emma [Thompson] might be jumping on board as well — just to lend a voice and a name to an important cause. I read it and I said, ‘Absolutely. I’ll do whatever I can.'”

Some time went by, and Brown ended up calling Anderson back — but with a different ask.

Continue reading “Gillian Anderson on why you should see “Sold””