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A sex-trafficking survivor becomes a national anti-trafficking leader.
Sheri Shuster
Berkeley, California
United States
4 Team Members

Child Sex Trafficking: A Story About Love is a fiscally sponsored project of Independent Arts & Media, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit supporting people and projects that use media and the arts to build community and participation.

**NOTE: the campaign has ended, You can continue to support the film by visiting the official film website. 

We surpassed our goal! A GIANT THANK YOU to our contributors, ambassadors and all the love near and far from Switzerland to Mexico that culminated to ensure this groundbreaking film gets made!! XOXOXOX

Be a part of a movie. 
Be a part of a movement.


Our goal is to raise create a powerful film that strengthens the anti-trafficking movement. With each person like you on our team, WE CAN DO IT! We have built a solid, trusting relationship with survivor-activist, Leah. Her extraordinary life as a national leader is skyrocketing! In May she flew to England and trained the only long-term safe house for exploited children, and in June she spoke on a national BET TV panelWe need the funds to document these unique opportunities, highlight the power of survivor-leadership, and complete the film!

All donations are greatly appreciated and tax deductible. Mostly, our incredible supporters will get the satisfaction of helping complete our vision and share this inspiring film with the world!

We gladly accept your support and enthusiasm in other ways..

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Child Sex Trafficking: A Story About Love documents the resilience and energy of an extraordinary woman. It's an inspiringly intimate portrait of Leah, a bold human rights activist who transforms from survivor into a national leader against human trafficking. Leah explains, "I was trapped. You can't go to the police. You can't go to your family. There's a despair you go through. You're not like kids your age.” 

This documentary aims to change the conversation about the sexually exploited in America – to decriminalize and humanize them by highlighting one woman's tragedy, triumph, and hero’s journey. "If it wasn't for the people who were committed to me, I know I wouldn't be here."  

BET TV Special "STOLEN INNOCENCE: YOUR DAUGHTERS ARE OUR DAUGHTERS." Leah Albright-Byrd (second from left) 

Since 2012 Leah has brought national attention to combating trafficking as a spokesperson for California's Prop 35, 2014 Superbowl PSA, and featured appearances on Katie Couric and BET TV. Audiences will admire her. And cheer her on with a full heart.   

Photo montage of her groundbreaking accomplishments as a #survivorleader.


Director/Producer Sheri Shuster's interview on KALW San Francisco Public Radio/NPR Network with Hana Baba on Crosscurrents.


In 1999, two teenage friends were victimized by a trafficker and sold for sex on the internet. Bridget was murdered and found naked in the hallway of a Las Vegas hotel. Leah mustered strength in her spiritual life and vowed to restore dignity to Bridget's memory.

The average age for recruitment into the commercial sex industry in the US is 13 years old. Leah was 14 when she was first exploited. Leah (left) and Bridget (right) 

The film captures Leah's memories as a victim of child sex trafficking, revealing a world unknown to most. The film documents her journey of healing and self-love. Our audience will be inspired by a woman of courage, conviction and sensibility in her path to becoming a national leader in the campaign to end child sex trafficking.  

Leah camping out in the living room. 

Leah at a benefit concert for her organization Bridget's Dream by 4 time Grammy Award winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Leah's story is about the universal journey for belonging, love and redemption. Her story sheds light on the dark, gripping truths of child sex trafficking while humanizing the survivors who have risen from the violent underworld of exploitation and emerged as influential role models who advocate in favor of human rights and gender equality. Leah is the co-founder and Executive Director of Bridget's Dream, a pioneering anti-trafficking NGO in the Bay Area


SHERI SHUSTER, Director/Co-producer

Sheri is an Iranian-American human rights filmmaker born in Jerusalem and raised in Los Angeles. She has advocated on behalf of exploited youth for over 10 years and built relationships that have afforded her intimate access to the lives and stories of human trafficking survivors and experts in the field. She sits on the board of directors for United Roots Oakland and served as a consultant for several leading anti-trafficking agencies in the Bay Area. She is an alumnus of UCLA and theEvans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. Child Sex Trafficking: A Story About Love is Sheri's directorial debut. 

LAYDA NEGRETE, Co-producer

Layda is the Emmy Award winning producer of Presunto Culpable (Presumed Guilty, 2008), a documentary film which won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism (2011), LA Film Festival Audience Award and Best International Feature (2010), and the Amnesty International Award at Copenhagen Film Festival (2009), among others. Layda is an attorney with over 10 years of experience conducting criminal justice research in her home country, Mexico. Her work has been funded by the United Nations, the Hewlett Foundation, and the World Bank. Layda is currently completing a PhD in Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley

MARK BERGER, Advisor and Sound Remix

Four-time Academy Award and two-time BAFTA winning sound producer Mark Berger has mixed sound for over 160 films, including The Godfather: Part II (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979), Amadeus (1984),The English Patient (1996), and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). With over 30 years of experience working in sound, Mark is currently a professor of film at the University of California, Berkeley.


DJ is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and media artist. He serves as Assistant Professor of Cinema Practice in the Media Arts + Practice Division at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. DJ is on the Board of Directors of Picture Alternatives, a non-profit organization that uses creative media to promote the social value and effectiveness of alternatives to violence. 

IAN COLEMAN, IT Director & Associate Producer

Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Ian is a software engineer whose career led him to work throughout Europe and North America before being recruited by a Silicon Valley company and calling the Bay Area home. He is an Amazon engineer by day and guitarist/songwriter by night. Ian received an Honours Degree in Computer Engineering from the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown and his Masters in Telecommunications Engineering from Dublin City University


James is a scholarship recipient and wide-receiver for the Cal Bears at UC Berkeley. He is a gifted pianist and composer, passionate about scoring music for films. James is currently a fourth-year student, double majoring in Religious Studies and Philosophy.


More than 100,000 children are sold into sex slavery in the United States everyday. Approximately 2.5 million individuals become victims of human trafficking at any given time, according to theUnited Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Many people have asked, how is it possible that children are being bought and sold in America? After a year of interviewing survivor-leaders, psychologists, and policymakers about the systemic and institutional risk factors, the resounding answer was – love and protection, or rather the lack of both. Children who don't get the love they deserve and are victimized by sexual, physical, and emotional abuse are vulnerable to being recruited into the commercial sex industry. 

Conversely, when I asked, What helps victims escape the brutal life of sexual exploitation?  The answer I got from survivors in their recovery was also – love. 

Big love. Transformative love. Unconditional love. 

Find This Campaign On
raised by 73 people in 1 month
103% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$10,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on July 12, 2014
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  • $5USD
    High Five!

    Thanks for putting your hands up and your hearts in! We are the ones we've been waiting for.

    1 claimed
  • $25USD
    Thank You Shoutout!

    Contributions to the film are charitable and tax-deductible. But we won't stop there! Get a tweet from @survivorleader thanking you for your support. Our Social Media Manager Lydia will also send you a picture of her cat*. Only one easy payment of $25. *Not a glamor shot. I hope you like Maine Coons.

    8 claimed
  • $50USD
    Anti-trafficking Advocate

    We will create a "Anti-Trafficking Advocate Wall" on our website (just for you!) and add your name to our ever-flowing list of human trafficking abolitionists/cat lovers/dog lovers/war heroes/South Park character impersonators*. We will also give you (yes, you!) the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make 15-30 second video on why you believe in our production. The video will be featured across our social media pages. Plus all lower-level perks. *We have a very talented team of filmmakers.

    11 claimed
  • $100USD
    You're Invited!

    Receive VIP invitations to our exclusive fillmmaker events. Come to them. Meet the filmmakers. Shake their hands. Take selfies with them. Have the time of your life.* *Not guaranteed, though we are very fun people. So you probably will.

    16 claimed
  • $250USD
    Think Tank

    Ever wanted to see an advance screening with all the outtakes? Well, now you can! Watch the first ever screening of the documentary and tell us what you think! We want your feedback, questions, and creative input. Your choice of buttered or caramel popcorn. Donate $100 more, and Lydia will write a haiku for you on a subject of your choosing.

    1 claimed
  • $500USD
    Your Name on the BIG screen!

    We'll add your name to the "Thank You" section of the film's credits. Lydia will also send you a picture of her cat AND her dog!* Now that's a steal. *Not together.

    5 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Royal Ambassador

    We will promote your non-profit organization on our official film website by attaching a link on our website of your non-profit's website. You'll obviously get all the benefits of all the lower perks. Donate more than 1,000, and Lydia will do a backflip* for you. *Or we can go to your house and watch the second season of Orange is the New Black. Your call.

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  • $2,500USD
    Private Screening!

    We will host a private screening for the non-profit organization of your choice. A producer will be in attendance. Travel expenses and accommodations not included. All lower level perks included. Comes with five photos of Lydia's cat -- if you're really into cat photos.

    1 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    Associate Producer

    Time to get serious. As an associate producer, your name will be on the film and other important things. If requested, Lydia will play one song on the glockenspiel* for you. Lower level perks included. *classically-trained

    0 out of 2 claimed
  • $10,000USD
    Executive Producer

    Guys, this is the real deal. Come join our elusive inner-circle. Be part of the team. Rub shoulders with four-time Academy Award winners and Emmy Award winners. Let's make music together.* Enjoy benefits from all the perks above. *Or composer James Grisom could name a song after you.

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