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The extraordinary, true story of children smuggled to the U.S. from China who are forced to work across America to pay off debts as high as $90,000.
153 backers pledged $10,681 to help bring this project to life.

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$10,681

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Thanks for checking out our upcoming film project WALKING MERCHANDISE! Find out more and watch the trailer at: www.snakeheadthefilm.com

Walking Merchandise is a short documentary that explores a dark, unknown secret in America: children smuggled from China and left to work in restaurants to repay debts of $90,000.

Director, Ethan Downing and his crew have worked tirelessly over the last year to bring light to this extremely pressing issue. Every year, Chinese human smugglers, known as "snakeheads," use transnational, illicit networks to transport persons from China into the United States. Migrants pay fees as high as $90,000, and are subject to exploitation and brutality in the course of their journeys, as well as retribution upon themselves and their families should they be unable to pay.

While the United States is already grappling with wide-sweeping immigration problems, this particular topic brings the issue to deeper levels of legal and moral ambiguity, as Chinese children are sent to the United States by their own families, accompanied only by international smuggling criminals. Once they arrive, they are responsible for paying back an enormous debt, oftentimes in extremely exploitative and dangerous scenarios.

Our hope is that through examining the dynamics of this system, and presenting this information to as large an audience as possible, we may foster a greater awareness of the subject among policy makers and the population at large.

Your generous donations will be used to help pay for production and post production costs. We are currently finishing principle photography and will need funding to continue the project without interruption so we can complete the film and begin raising awareness about this issue as quickly as possible.

We need the support of wonderful people like you to donate AND share the trailer to help spread the word to others. We can't even begin to explain the impact your gift makes on the film (a lot!), and without your support we won't be able to finish this film. Donations beyond our Kickstarter goal are welcome, and will be used towards post production costs. Every little bit helps. Please partner with us to make this film a reality!

If you are completely broke, we still need your help! Share the trailer with all your facebook friends and email address book to help solicit donations.

Our total goal is $14,346, and I'd like to say a special thank you to everyone who has already given to the project and helped us raise nearly 25% of that number! However, due to how Kickstarter works (via magic and the internet) we could not get those gifts to populate on this page (trust us, we tried everything we could, we even wrote an email to the folks that run this fantastic site to make sure we weren't missing anything). All I can say is that we wouldn't have been able to get this far without your help, and it truly (truly) makes a difference. Thank you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask by sending us an email, or find out more at www.snakeheadthefilm.com!

Sincerely,
The Walking Merchandise Team

Ethan Downing
contactnjr@gmail.com

*Walking Merchandise is funded in part by Columbia University's Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Have your name listed on the redesigned website as a supporter of the film. Also, bragging rights that you helped fund a documentary exposing child exploitation!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Everything at the $10 level PLUS: A digital download of the movie poster, designed by graphic designer Laura Sanders (laurajsanders.com).

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Everything at the $25 level PLUS: A pre-release, password protected screening of the film before anyone else has a chance to see it!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Everything at the $50 level PLUS: A printed, limited edition run of the movie poster, designed by graphic designer Laura Sanders (laurajsanders.com) and signed by the artist.

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    Everything at the $100 level PLUS: A free, limited edition DVD of the film, signed by the director. The ONLY way to obtain a physical DVD of this film will be by donating through Kickstarter, so reserve your copy now!

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Everything at the $175 level PLUS: A 1-hour portrait session with our award winning Director of Photography, Vincent DeLuca. You can use this photo shoot for yourself or give it to a friend as a gift. Choose from fashion, headshots, or family portraits. He will make your photos beautiful and give you high resolution images. Also meet the Director of the documentary as he helps Vincent with your shoot. (Limited to NYC metro area.)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Everything at the $300 level PLUS: Screen credit as a supporter of the film.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Everything at the $500 level PLUS: A private screening, talk-back, and discussion about child trafficking and the snakehead network with the filmmakers at your/your child's school/university/organization (Tri-state area, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC, or Toledo OH).

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Everything at the $1,000 level PLUS: An executive producer credit (solo title card) in the film! And dinner with the Director, Producer and select crew members (travel and lodging not included).

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Funding period

- (46 days)