A new movie hit theaters Friday, exposing the darkest side of the human trafficking trade, selling children for sex.
It's called "Trade of Innocents" and the film is playing at Maya Cinemas in central Bakersfield for the next week. The movie is about human sex trafficking.
Girls as young as six are being sold in Cambodia. The movie showcases an American investigator trying to break up the criminal ring.
"It's shocking reality to know something like this could be happening down the street," said Jim Schmidt, co-producer.
It's a shocking reality that brought some movie-goers to tears.
"It's very disgusting and depraved that a human being would take a child's innocence, never to be the same again," said Charlotte Jones.
"It just tore my heart out, but I think because it's a global issue," said Ankehoden Pijl.
"I think people get so caught up in all of their iPhones and iPad and toys, and all of our material things we don't realize this is happening right in our own city," noted Ron Jones.
"I'm very sad. I'm very tearful. It just also causes me to want to do something about it," said Nancy Duncan.
That is the goal of Dr. Bill Bolthouse, the film's co-producer, who first learned about trafficking four years ago during a mission to set up a hospital in Cambodia.
"It changes you. You want to do something, positive," he explained.
Bolthouse who's part of the local farming family, shared his passion with Bakersfield producer Jim Schmidt.
The two men behind the film say by exposing the issue on the big screen, audiences won't be able to ignore it.
"We want to push people to the emotional edge," said Bolthouse.
The hope is that movie-goers turn that emotional impact into action.
"If you know about it, what are you doing to fight it? What are you doing to correct it? You can't just sit back and say it's a terrible problem. You have to engage and be involved," he continued.
The "Trade of Innocents" will be playing at Maya Cinemas for the next week.
Cal State Bakersfield will host a symposium Saturday, October 13 to watch the film and talk about it with law enforcement.
The symposium at the Icardo Center, from 9:00 AM until 1:30 PM. Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for general admission.