The Trap - the deadly sex-trafficking cycle in American prisons

The Trap investigates how prisons and jails across the United States have become recruiting grounds for human traffickers, who are targeting incarcerated women and trafficking them out of correctional facilities and into pimp-controlled prostitution. More on this story - Revealed: how US sex traffickers recruit jailed women for prostitutionAmerica's outcasts: the women trapped in a cruel cycle of exploitation

For the past 18 months The Guardian has been investigating the role of the criminal justice system in feeding vulnerable women into America’s thriving domestic sex trafficking industry. With unique access in Florida, Massachusetts and Chicago, the film follows the stories of women caught in the trap of criminal exploitation and incarceration and those trying to stop some of America’s most vulnerable women from falling under the control of human traffickers. Including encounters in Texas with convicted human traffickers and correctional officers who expose the faultlines that are allowing women to be released from prison straight into the arms of pimps and sex-buyers.

Key credits

  • Directed and produced by: Annie Kelly and Mei-Ling McNamara
  • Director of photography: Alex Healey
  • Executive producer: Laurence Topham
  • Editor: Agnieszka Liggett
  • Composer: Graham Hadfield
  • Sound design: Dennis Wheatley
  • Motion design: Joseph Pierce
  • Colourist: Ken Macfarlane
  • Additional cinematography: Tom Silverstone
  • Commissioning editors: Tracy McVeigh, Charlie Phillips, Lindsay Poulton and Mustafa Khalili
  • Length - 32 mins