The Day My God Died

<i>Andrew Levine. Independent Lens. 60 minutes. Airs on PBS, Nov. 30.</i>

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Their stories sound like South Asian versions of the Marquis de Sade, but it’s not fiction. As Tim Robbins narrates, sweet-faced, teen-age girls from Nepal — former prostitutes in India rescued by a child-saving agency — describe the trauma of being kidnapped from their villages and imprisoned in Bombay brothels. They recall beatings and rapes to “break” them for sex with scores of clients a week. They talk of being infected with HIV, and preparing to die of AIDS.

These sex-trafficking abominations have been extensively documented by human rights monitors in the last decade. Hearing the innocent victims’ stories is infuriating, even more so on film than in NGO print. But for all its immediacy, The Day My God Died lacks vital context: It never mentions that Nepal is one of the world’s poorest countries, that rural Nepalese have little work or education, that grown women and girls alike “voluntarily” migrate to Indian brothels because their families desperately need money, that many aren’t kidnapped. And that adult women get AIDS, too.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend