Nefarious: Merchant of Souls (2011) Poster

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10/10
Well-made, gripping, informative!
servienteprincesa30 November 2011
Gripping, well-made, and yet hopeful. The creators take viewers to countries around the globe--some expected, and some surprising--and give a broad picture of human trafficking. They interview prostitutes, pimps, traffickers, and those seeking to help. This film is passionate and inspired me to view prostitution--both legal and illegal--through different eyes. Though this is their first film, it did not seem like it. It was very well made and gripping. It was the first film I have seen on the topic and I felt it did an excellent job at introducing the subject and challenging viewers. The section on prostitution in the US was eye-opening for me as well. I heartily recommend this film, although it does contain very hard-hitting content (I wouldn't recommend it for children or young teens). I understand they are making a follow-up, which I am eager to see!
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7/10
It denies you the bliss of ignorance
panchodh_1210 November 2014
The movie's message is nicely summed up in its last quotation before the credits, which says something like "You can turn your face, but you can never say you didn't know about it".

This movie reveals such a shocking truth that makes you wonder how could we as a human race reach such a low point. The first minutes are painfully realistic in interpreting an abduction and the posterior purchase of a woman by a mafia guy. After that, you just can't take your eyes off the screen, even if that's what you desire the most.

The movie cleverly follows a reasoning line that start with the more precise, concrete issue of human trafficking, in particular related to Eastern European organized crime, and from that digs deeper and deeper, linking this particular and terribly awful issue with that of prostitution and Amsterdam's (in)famous women windows in the Red Light District, and one can't help but wondering: from whose twisted mind came the idea of making of this a tourist attraction?? When dealing with the complex issue of prostitution, the movie takes us to rural Thailand where 80 to 90 percent of girls are sold by their families to brothels, and at this point I think the movie falls at least temporarily in the Western Savior Complex, specially when a (white) interviewee says something of the kind: "On whose mind is it ethical to give up their daughter to this kind of life, just for some money?". And the question remains unanswered, floating around, with no effort whatsoever of trying to answer it, of interviewing a local, of trying to see the problem from the locals' perspective instead of that of a Western who landed on this exotic land to solve the problem you guys have.

But anyways, that's just a somewhat minor detail. In general the movie is well-centered, and after dealing with the Thai problem, the movie goes back to Las Vegas and interviews American prostitutes. Here the authors dig even deeper and link the issue of prostitution with that of child abuse. And the circle closes itself. What started as the most horrific face of capitalism and greed, is now seen through the lens of a patriarchal society that objectifies women and thinks they are there for men to masturbate inside them, as a Swedish politician says in the movie. And you realize that this problem is the worst face of both capitalism and patriarchy, and you realize how intertwined these two systems of oppression are.

So this movie could have finished as a chant against both capitalism and patriarchy. Instead, the authors decided to fill the last 15-20 minutes with bits of interviews in which the interviewees ALL cry, with a pathetic piano music on the background, while EVERY SINGLE ONE of them says that what made them carry on forward was faith, and God. And then you realize you have just watched a religious movie, made by religious people, with somewhat bizarre testimonies of prostitutes leaving their job because of an encounter with Jesus. And I mean, it's good that religion gets close to people's problems; but the thing with offering faith as the way out is that it rules out solutions of this world such as grouped resistance and government action.

So the end was quite disappointing. But that doesn't mean the rest of the movie is highly recommendable
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10/10
Starts with a shocking 5 Minutes!!
kimberlyharshman21 February 2012
Initially, you may want to run out of the screening as you are introduced to the infamous "breaking grounds", where mafia and organized crime destroy young women. But, stay put because you will be glad you did. The makers of Nefarious carry your heart very responsibly throughout this entire documentary. My favorite moment-the beautiful Cambodian girl who now believes she is a princess and that God loves her. I also love that you hear stories of so many broken people and then get to see later on that they were radically saved and rescued out of the industry! But, just so you know, not all of them choose to go through that open door. Someone actually returns to prostitution.
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10/10
From a survivor's perspective
joycerrific22 March 2012
For most people, allowing others to represent themselves in a business interview would be absurd. For most people, picking a lawyer to defend or prosecute on one's behalf, accurately, is a task that's nearly futile. For most people, we don't appreciate it when others relay personal events in our lives to mutual friends out of a concern that the situation won't be portrayed in a manor that depicts the whole truth. For most people, we become irritable when someone interjects and answers a question on our behalf, when the question was intended for you to answer. For most of us, we vote on a presidential candidate who most genuinely represents our beliefs & values. It can be unnerving to allow others to speak on your behalf.

As a survivor of human trafficking, I have found it nearly impossible to justly articulate or portray a picture, in it's entirety, of the horrors that I and thousands of others have endured. There is a groan from within for humanity to understand, to empathize, and to defend those rendered powerless. However sadly, most cannot wrap their minds around the nature of this trauma. Most are simply informed, but are never presented hope to believe there can be authentic renewal for victims. But Nefarious: Merchant of Souls does just that. This documentary understands, empathizes, and defends. Nefarious brings hope. Nefarious presents the necessary validation that is crucial for survivors to rebuild trust in a society that so seemingly accepts such atrocities by it's passivity. Nefarious: Merchant of Souls boldly advocates on the behalf of myself, and others in an honorable way, and is worthy to speak on behalf of survivors.
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10/10
The best documentary I've seen on human trafficking!
blaireblaire1121 February 2012
WOW! I was blown away by Nefarious: Merchant of Souls! As someone who has a heart for human trafficking, I've watched a lot of documentaries, news reports and mini-series on the issue. But Nefarious was unlike anything out there! It's informative, powerful and hopeful. The information in the film was eye-opening and the conclusions the filmmaker came to really caused me to re-evaluate what I thought I knew about trafficking. I left feeling not only emotionally stirred, but commissioned to take action- that there is something I can do to fight against this issue of modern-day slavery. Also, a big bonus, Nefarious has incredible cinematography- what a quality film!! Everyone should see this movie.
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10/10
Must-See: Sex Trafficking Exposed
carolinelise-moore21 February 2012
Nolot does a masterful job of depicting the cruelty and inhumanity of human trafficking in the documentary Nefarious. The viewer is given an education on the global sex trade from the perspectives of both men and women who have been involved in the industry. The trauma such cruelty and brutality is having on actual women and children's lives cannot be underestimated. It stirs questions concerning the audience's reaction to this barely told horror still happening to members of our own humanity. While the barbaric reality of the trading and systematic abuse of persons is brought into the light in this film, there is a tangible hope for the violence to end.
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10/10
Hard Hitting, Informative, Gripping Film On The Horror of Sex Trafficking
lmickelwait22 February 2012
This is by far the best documentary on human trafficking ever made. It goes in depth to look at all of the complex factors that enable this horrific crime against humanity to continue and offers solutions in order to empower the viewer to take action. Unlike other films on the topic, Nefarious makes the important connection between prostitution and human trafficking and has a global perspective. The film is packed with solid facts, statistics and expert interviews and it is a must see for anyone who is interested in tackling the issue of human trafficking. Director Benjamin Nolot created a film that ranks as one of the best documentaries ever made. The re-enactments are well done, the interviews are hard hitting and he was able to engage the hearts and emotions of the audience while at the same time engaging the mind. The film is inspirational, emotive, hard-hitting, informative and will leave you both speechless and empowered.
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1/10
a gripping start, an empty finish
edosacha24 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
the ending of this documentary actually negates all the commentary given by "professionals" with regard to the 21st century version of slavery which is the sex/porn trade. though it is true that most women in this environment are in it against their will, and most often brutally violated, the heavy Christian slant on redemption "through Christ" at the end made me check the credentials at the end for the list of sponsors of this film. in my mind this is nothing more than a commercial - and a long one at that - for the Christian-led mission to get prostitutes and porn workers to "accept Christ" in the "documentary" body of the film a number of individuals who are being identified as credible professionals in the fields of psychology and journalism, are giving their opinions on the origins of prostitution. they do indeed sound quite credible, but in my opinion their credibility suffers a major setback at the end of the film. though it is laudable that there are many programs aimed at minimizing and even eradicating this brutal modern-day slavery, the film should be introduced as Christian propaganda.
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10/10
The BEST documentary I have ever seen!
carrie_mcdade27 April 2012
After graduating from a media and entertainment university, I have seen and critiqued many documentaries over the last few years, and I would say that without a doubt, Nefarious: Merchant of souls is by far the best I have seen to date. Not only will the gripping story keep you in your seat, but the quality of the documentary is one that surpasses many. The documentary does not just give you a glimpse of what sex trafficking looks like, but it takes you all over the world and shows interviews from experts, survivors, traffickers, and johns to give the viewer a more complete understanding of this issue, and how it effects us all. In addition, Nefarious has a powerful message that needs to be shared with people around the globe. The issue of sex trafficking has burdened my heart for many years, and Nefarious is one of the best awareness tools to expose this injustice.
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10/10
Manditory viewing
kerrycatshaw13 August 2021
Benjamin Nolot needs to make a part 2 and keep on this topic till it stops. Dig into the infrastructure more of who facilitates this atrocities. Films like Nefarious merely show the tip of the iceberg on Human Trafficking. To those who boo-hoo this film as Christian-centric, well look at why the Christians are the only ones touching this subject. I'm not Christian but maybe they are right that this is a spiritual battle.
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1/10
good aim and terrible movie
martin-p-keller24 March 2014
even though the aim of this movie is amazing, the final movie is horrible!! It made me angry while watching because you only see Americans talking about their closed mind view of how we have to understand sex trafficking! you only see Americans in intervievs and no locals who could explain why and how it came to this horrible situation. the only part I like and can take serious is the part about prostitution in America. the psychologist dan allender is also very good and objective but everything else is just the wrong way to talk about horrible sex trafficking crimes in this world!! Its sad because the aim behind the movie was certainly a good one.
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10/10
This documentary is under lock and key...sacred.
aliwhitaker22 February 2012
This documentary was unlike any other I have ever seen. Documentaries, oftentimes, have poor quality in cinematography and creativity, but not "Nefarious: Merchant of Souls". I was on the edge of my seat throughout the majority of the film and that is not even the best part. The best part is that I could literally feel the Holy Spirit's presence on the film as I felt Him reach deep down into my soul. I view this film as a type of "vault" as those who choose to view it are unlocking a realm of God's heart that not everyone gets to see. These, His creation are sacred and priceless to Him. I see Him setting the captives free through us, the viewers as He calls us to the sacred charge of abolition and deliverance first, on our knees and then through using our time, money, and energy to be His hands and feet...powerful.
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10/10
Beautiful
bondjessup22 March 2012
I don't even feel like I can do this film justice by writing a review, but I'll give it my best shot. There is something truly special about being able to have my heart broken and deeply blessed at the same time, and this film perfectly captures that dichotomy. I walked away with a true sense of the pain, the evil, and the magnificence of the problem; I also felt full of hope and like I can make a difference. The film is beautifully made, and is hands down the best film on this topic that I have ever seen. I learned so much and walked away with a clearer understanding of what is behind this evil industry. I am looking forward to watching it again; I encourage anyone who has the chance to see it. It will change your life!
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10/10
A Must See
waltmanis26 February 2012
Nefarious: Merchant of Souls is the best documentary that I've seen on the subject of human trafficking.

It is so well done.

The interviews and visuals were not only informative but they really spoke to me on an emotional level. It's easy to make a documentary that just gives facts but it's really hard to really shake people with your message. I haven't been able to get this film out of my head.

Most films that I've seen on human trafficking left me feeling hopeless. This problem seems so large and so overwhelming.

I think Nefarious is so powerful because it not only provides the viewer with information about the problem, but it also helps the viewer know what to do get involved in helping to change the situation.

Things can be done to reverse this.

If you haven't seen it........go see it. If you've already seen it..... then you know what I'm talking about.

Share it with your friends. We need to get this horrible problem exposed and bring it into the light.
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10/10
Gripping depiction of the horrible reality of human trafficking
tanya-pelcher8 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
When God gives someone a vision, it will always have an impact on people's hearts. This documentary truly depicts the horrible reality of human trafficking all over the world. I didn't quite know what to expect, and even working with ladies caught up in this business, I never imagined being shocked all over again. It's happening all around us, in every city and continent, yet there's so few people taking a stand. The film is also of real good quality and nothing like any other documentary I've seen. Their research on this subject is amazing and using testimonies of people who have exited this business, have made this film even more real. It will shock you, bring you to tears, leave you gasping, but most of all...it will give you hope and hopefully will stir you to action. This is a must-see documentary! For sure your heart will be changed after watching this.
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10/10
Nefarious merchant of souls
kevinscholes20038 June 2012
Very harrowing documentary , about a terrible truth -a reality , that is going on even as we speak . In our western world of ease and pleasure, freedom , security and peace in a relatively safe enjoyable society we live- in not far away young innocent girls are being forced into being slaves forced into having sex beaten and punished, if they don't comply. This documentary will shake you to the core , shows the evils of the mafia in eastern Europe and their involvement in organised crime , and the documentary shows this barbaric trade of human trafficking going on around the world . Everyone should watch this DVD it has got to be the worst thing going on in the world today, watching this will stir you into action to do something about it you'll never be the same again
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10/10
Absolutely Heart-wrenching and Motivating
rachiepoofoohead7 March 2012
This documentary will break you, amaze you, and teach you things that I guarantee you didn't know before watching it. I saw this documentary at a church screening and I was crying pretty much the whole time. If you have a desire to help change the lives of those who have been trafficked, watch this documentary. Not only does it open your eyes, but it inspires you to find a way to help. It makes you WANT to help these people. One thing that I loved about this documentary was that it didn't just focus on the negative the whole time, but it came to a very redeeming ending. Stories of prostitutes being freed and finding the love of Jesus Christ, of them experiencing Him and feeling love like they had never felt before. Real LOVE. It's so amazing, and I seriously recommend this to everyone 14 and older. I think that it would be upsetting to anyone younger than that, who doesn't have a grasp of what human trafficking is in the first place. It really changed your perspective on who prostitutes really are and how much of what they do is their choice. Let me just tell you this, not much. This really shows you how trapping of a lifestyle prostitution is. I would 90% of the time, it's not their choice. Another thing that I really appreciated about this documentary, is how well made it is. The cinematography is BEAUTIFUL. I mean, there's this one part where they are interviewing someone and they show the interview in the reflection of a mirror. That is just so artistic to me, and I LOVE that. The music is fantastic, and the parts where acting is needed are very well acted. Amazing Documentary. :)
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10/10
Excellent Exposé on Sex Trafficking
kpmiracle7 May 2012
Most people see movies to temporarily escape reality, but Nefarious is one that brings you deeper into it. As you travel alongside the director to several countries, Nefarious opens viewers eyes to the worldwide epidemic that is sex trafficking. It is one of the most comprehensive documentaries about this issue available.

I appreciate how they talked about how this is fueled by crime, poverty, governments, glamor, and sometimes even parents. However, for me it went beyond a merely expository view by diving into deeply personal interviews with former prostitutes & "Johns", making me cry even after seeing it multiple times. I felt like it provided a good blend between relaying information and introducing real people.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this movie.
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1/10
Religious indoctrination in disguise
DaSpider6 December 2021
It feels like a serious documentary at first, showing the reality and cruelty of prostitution, inherent sex trafficking, abuse, social and economical conditions leading to it. It is not until the last 10 minutes of the movie that one finds out what it is really about. In the most emotional moment, at your most fragile state of mind, they hit you with these three messages:

1. God is great 2. Prayer solves everything 3. Give us money

Up to that point the movie was a solid 8/10. My mind was racing with thoughts on how to combat such systemic evil plaguing our society. For a moment there the movie tackled the issue realistically. To stop crime (and that is what it is) takes government action, effective policies and police enforcement. It's not a responsibility of individuals in society to fight poverty and the mafia itself.

Then the religious nonsense dropped. I felt betrayed.
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10/10
Heartbreaking yet hopeful...
press-116-7465251 May 2012
This film is one of the most powerful documentaries I have ever viewed! The issue of sex slavery is such a vast and horrendous topic to cover and yet, Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, does not leave you in despair but offers a message of hope through the testimonies of women who been rescued from this atrocity.

After having read about this issue for many years and having seen numerous films on the topic, I was so relieved to finally see a film that captures the beauty of restoration and not just focus on the hopelessness that can so often be felt when talking about this injustice.

Here is a beautiful quote from an interview I read with filmmaker, Benjamin Nolot. "Through Nefarious, we want to see people ignited with a passion for human dignity, for the sanctity of life and for the conviction that NO human being should be bought or sold."

I highly recommend seeing this film!
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10/10
Nefarious is a excellent in content and skill
courtneymoore9130 April 2012
I give Nefarious: Merchant of Souls 10 stars because of the excellence of the film as well as the message. Nefarious is a documentary that doesn't hold back, there is no political agenda only kingdom hope: that is Jesus. They have traveled all over the world documenting human trafficking in Israel, Las Vegas, Cambodia, India, Thailand, Amsterdam, Sweden, Costa Rice and many others. This isn't a trite group of 20- somethings high on some proverbial issue with a rink-a-dink camera and their parent's money. This is a group of professional cinematographers, writers, producers that have a deep passion for excellence in film. This documentary took over 2 years to create.

While watching this documentary you can't help but feel scandalized by the secrets hidden in darkness in these countries. Why do so many governmental officials accept bribes and pay-offs at the exploitation of the innocent. Benjamin Nolot steps behind the veil of the sex trade and pulls back the fraudulent ideas and schemes of greedy pimps. He asks the hard questions to pimps and human trafficking survivors alike all with a father-like sensitivity. It isn't his curiosity that causing Nolot to search out the shrouded stories of sex slavery, it's the insatiable and necessary answers to the truth of the abject occurrences in young men and women's lives all at the hands of oppressors.

This isn't a phase of pseudo-justice film-making, this is lasting truths, real stories, undeniable testimonies and the hope of Jesus Christ. What I love most about the film is that you aren't left feeling hopeless. This isn't about raising awareness (although that is needed). It is about appealing to a higher court than even the Supreme Court, it is to enter into the heart of the Father that daily looks upon injustice and weep with Him. Tangible tools are given at the end: prayer and to become an incurable fanatic. This Wilberforce quote , If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large. Is poignant to the film, brilliant really to begin entering into one of the beauties of humanity, and that is to help another. To reach out and grab hold of one who needs to be taken in, nurtured, loved and cared for.

Nefarious is a must-see film. Really, you must buy it. You must view it. Even if you don't agree with the teachings of Jesus, I believe that you will find hope when watching this film, allow yourself to believe that which bears witness to your heart's cry. Listen all the way through the facts, gorgeous cinematographer, well-versed narration and to the end where testimonies from former prostitutes and recognize the hope found now in their eyes.
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10/10
Excellent!
anniemanis8126 February 2012
This film is eye-opening and powerful. It gave me a clearer picture of what is really going on in the sex trade around the world. I knew bits and pieces of the information given in this film, but it is put together here so well. The story gives a strong message without being too graphic.

The overall production is extremely professional!

My favorite thing about the film is the way it ends with a focus on hope. There is hope, and many are beginning to find freedom from this terrible slavery they live in. Let us continue to work towards justice and freedom for all those who are still in slavery!

This is such an important piece of work. I highly recommend this film!
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10/10
Grieved to the core, but with a sense of empowerment and hope...
chelanjustice7 March 2012
This film was so well produced & thorough, educational, and giving all the crucial info anyone would need to know about the sex trade, from a global perspective. I've been raising awareness with 'Stop Child Trafficking Now' since '10, and have seen so many films. Yet this one is different from them all. After a while of being in the fight, your heart can get desensitized and you can stop crying when you hear the stories or stats. But I cried many times. It was a good thing to feel that depth of compassion again, and to reach a level of empathy I'd never reached prior. I was pushed to continue on. You leave the room or theater feeling grieved to the core, but ironically with a sense of empowerment and hope. I recommend it to everyone I talk about sex trafficking documentaries with - whether they are faith-based or not. Benjamin Nolot and his team are pro's and they are changing the entire sex trade global-economy with this film. This is just the beginning! If you haven't seen it, make it a priority. You will be so glad you did.
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10/10
Incredible
slabackm6 July 2012
Nefarious was by far the best documentary i have ever seen! This film clearly depicts the horror and the darkness of Sex Trafficking. It also shows you the reality, there is no sugar coating at all. Unlike other documentaries this shows you the true help and restoration. Nefarious is heart-wrenching and i highly recommend you watching it. The film informs you basically on everything, but it also inspires you to do something about it. The way the film is put together there is never one dull moment or scene that you aren't feeling some sort of emotion. Literally the whole film you are feeling something, the film will grip your heart and you will walk away with a heart to see this injustice end.
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10/10
Heart-wrenchingly poignant
beatyorama26 April 2012
Not only the best documentary I have seen on sex trafficking as of yet (and I've seen several, some much more visually explicit than this one), but perhaps the best documentary I have ever seen. It is truly heart-wrenching, your blood throbbing in your chest as you watch. The raw honesty of the film is breath-taking and kills pretense. The redemption and hope is so poignant that I am not sure I could keep from crying if I tried. Watch it, be convicted, and be kindled to do whatever you are able about this injustice. The film is undeniably focused on the teachings of Christ Jesus, and the way in which it is done takes the emotions to a level hard to achieve through visual media. I agree that Christ Jesus is our only hope. Praise God for his love!
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