Sex Slaves (The Real Sex Traffic)

60 minutes / 90 minutes • Documentary • Produced in association with: CBC, Frontline (PBS), Channel 4 • Production year: 2005

Sex Slaves is a gripping documentary exposé inside the global sex trade in women from the former Soviet Bloc. The film takes viewers into the shadowy, multi-billion dollar world of sex trafficking.

The film focuses on the remarkable story of Viorel, a Ukrainian man on a mission to find his pregnant, trafficked wife in Turkey. Hidden cameras follow Viorel as he tries to find the pimp who "owns" Katia, his wife. After days of desperate efforts, Viorel poses as a trafficker and sets out to buy her back. We follow Viorel to his meeting with Katia’s captor and from there into the world of trafficked women.

Bienstock interviews traffickers, cops and victims as she takes us deeper into the world of modern sex slavery then anyone has before.

Part cinema verité, part investigation, Sex Slaves explores the global trafficking problem through personal stories and unfettered access to traffickers and the people they use as human chattel. The documentary captures both the investigative story and the human story behind the headlines. From the villages of Moldova and Ukraine, to underground brothels and discotheques, we witness firsthand the brutal world of white sex slavery.

Written and directed by: Ric Esther Bienstock
Producers: Ric Esther Bienstock, Simcha Jacobovici and Felix Golubev
Executive Producers: Simcha Jacobovici and Brian Woods


  • Emmy Award, Outstanding Investigative Journalism, 2007
  • Edward R. Murrow Award, 2007
  • Mission Award, Woman’s International Film Festival, USA 2007
  • British Broadcast Award, Best Documentary Programme, U.K., 2006
  • Gracie Award for Outstanding Documentary, New York, 2006
  • Royal Television Society Award, UK 2006
  • Best of the Festival, U.N. Documentary Film Festival, 2006
  • Bulldog Award for Best Documentary, Televisual Magazine, U.K., 2006
  • Silver Award, Worldmedia Festival, Hamburg, Germany, 2006


  • (BAFTA) British Academy of Film and Television Awards, 2006
  • Gemini, Best Writing, 2006
  • Shortlisted for the Prix Italia, Venice, Italy 2006
  • Shortlisted for the Prix Europa, Berlin, Germany 2006


  • IDFA, Amsterdam, Official Selection, 2005
  • One World International Film Festival, Prague, Czech Republic, 2006
  • International Human Rights Film Festival, Geneva, Switzerland, 2006
  • United Nations Documentary Film Festival, New York, 2006
  • United Nations Documentary Film Festival, London, U.K., 2006
  • Palm Beach International Film Festival, Florida, 2006
  • Shanghai Film Festival, China, 2006
  • AFO Film Festival, Czech Republic, 2006
  • Jackson Hole Film Festival, Wyoming, 2006
  • World Media Festival, Germany, 2006
  • Crakow Film Festival, Poland, 2006
  • Tri Continental Film Festival, Johannesburg & Cape Town, 2006
  • Bay St Film Festival, Canada, 2006
  • DerHumALC International Festival of Humans Rights, Buenos Aires 2006
  • One World Film Festival, Bratislava, 2006
  • Vermont International Film Festival, U.S., 2006
  • Amnesty International Film Festival, Toronto, 2006
  • Amnesty International Film Festival, Vancouver, 2006
  • Artivist Film Festival, Los Angeles, 2006
  • Annapolis Film Festival, U.S.A., 2006
  • Bergen Film Festival, Norway, 2006
  • Cork Film Festival, Ireland, 2006
  • Watch Docs Human Rights in Film, Warsaw, 2006
  • Reel Women International Film Festival, Los Angeles, 2007
  • Woman’s International Film Festival, Miami, 2007
  • Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, Australia, 2007
  • BG One World Film Festival, Bulgaria, 2008