Laurie Holden recently played a “party girl” in a drama about Colombian sex traffickers selling children to potential clients. It includes her as a brunette, and hanging out with other party girls in a “bachelor party” house. In this story, it’s revealed that the house is wired with various hidden cameras as authorities hide close by, and that this is a sting to capture the traffickers on tape making transactions.
This might sound like the plot for Holden’s next film following her role as Andrea on The Walking Dead, but it is not. Laurie Holden in fact participated in the sting operation in Columbia earlier this year, with a “rag-tag group of volunteers“ consisting of filmmakers, a former Navy Seal, CrossFit instructors, all of who played party guests as they waited for the Colombian sex-traffickers to arrive.
In an interview with CBC News, Holden described her role:
We pretended we were having a big bachelor party, so my role was the girlfriend of one of the rich Americans, so I kind of had to sell them and the traffickers on the idea that I was a party girl, that I was there to have a good time with the guys. I had a pretty good disguise — I had a wig and glasses.
The non-government organization “Operation Underground Railroad,” which is headed up by Tim Ballard, a former CIA agent and former U.S. Homeland Security investigator, also spearheaded the operation.
I spent 12 years as a special agent, undercover operative for the United States government, doing this, and learned how to do it. The problem was that the vast majority of the kids that we would identify, we couldn’t save. They weren’t U.S. cases.
A group of filmmakers, led by Chet Thomas and Darrin Fletcher were following the operation, shooting a documentary called The Abolitionists, as well as gathering evidence for authorities.
ABC News reports that Laurie Holden was contacted to play a role because of her experience with similar work in Cambodia and Vietnam, though those were smaller operations and never involved armed personnel. Holden emphasizes:
We have to protect those who can’t protect themselves and it’s not about writing a cheque. That’s great, but I’ve seen [child sex trafficking] firsthand and I can’t get it out of my head, I’m just going to keep going until the day I die.
Here is the teaser of the feature that aired recently on the ABC documentary show Nightline.