Sold is the narrative of Lakshmi, a girl from Nepal, who is sold into the Indian sex slave trade at the age of thirteen. The book is by Patricia McCormick, and spawned a movie based off it of the same name directed by Jeffrey D. Brown. It was published in 2006, and was well received by critics, who praised its jarring, but unforgettable portrayal of modern sexual slavery. Sold also received a number of honorable mentions, including one of NPR's Top 100 Books of 2007, one of ALA's Top 10 Best Books for Young Adults in 2007, and the Elliot Rosewater Award.
Lakshmi, the protagonist, comes from an impoverished family who lives in the rural mountainsides of Nepal. One day, her father tells her she must take up a job to support the family, and takes her to see a charming man who tells her she is to be a maid in a wealthy house in India. But when Lakshmi arrives, she realizes she has been sold into prostitution. Once she arrives, she is trapped by the owner of the brothel, who forces her to work in order to pay off debt; however, she constantly confiscates Lakshmi's meager earnings so she can never leave. However, Lakshmi takes comfort in the small things in life, learning how to speak English and forging friendships with the other girls. She serves many customers, but one day an American prosecutor comes disguised as a client to gather evidence and free the girls. When he succeeds, Lakshmi is finally freed and able to return to her family at last.
Sold is a harshly realistic account of sexual slavery. To write the book, Patricia McCormick, a journalist, travelled to Nepal and Indian brothels to interview survivors of sex trafficking and gain insight about their experiences. The 2014 movie, directed by Oscar-winning director Jeffrey D. Brown, won many awards, including but not limited to the Best Narrative Feature at the Albuquerque Film and Media Experience in 2014, and the Best Picture Award at the Washington DC South Asian Film Festival in 2016.