Aren’t You Somebody? Be Somebody! (Movie Review)

John FarrellBy John Farrell8 Minutes

If you think you’re immune to trafficking, you’re wrong. If you think trafficking only happens in countries outside of the United States, try again. If you think only the poor fall victim to trafficking, try again. If you think sex trafficking is the only type of trafficking, incorrect.

Trafficking (both for sex and forced labor) is a global issue, and it may be an issue closer to home than you realize. It occurs everywhere—cities, suburbs, and rural areas. And it doesn’t discriminate based on age, race, sex, or nationality. According to the Human Trafficking Institute’s 2022 Executive Summary, “human trafficking is the crime of using force, fraud, or coercion to compel an individual to work or to engage in a commercial sex act.”

In the U.S., there were 363 reported victims in new cases in 2022. Of these victims, 96% of them were targets of sex trafficking while the remaining 4% were victims of forced labor. That year, the average length a victim of sex trafficking spent in exploitation by their trafficker was 341 days. That number more than doubles (693 days) for victims of forced labor.1

Unfortunately, this is a problem that flourishes outside the borders of the U.S. as well. According to a January 2023 statement by the U.S. Department of State, “An estimated 27.6 million are currently victims of trafficking worldwide, and, sadly, many of them are often hidden right in front us.”2

One such country that is not immune to human trafficking is Thailand. According to ECPAT International, “Thailand is home to about 610,000 human trafficking victims.”3 The Southeast Asian country was the setting for the 2020 film, Aren’t You Somebody?, which was written and directed by Joe Phillips. The movie was inspired by real-world problems and the heroes (or “somebodies”) who solve them.

Motivation for Action

The movie opens when Doug Brown (Phillips), an American minister in Thailand to help plant churches, receives a knock on his Thai hotel room door. He’s surprised to learn that it’s a strange man trying to “buy” a young girl for the night. Scared and unsure of how to react, Brown does nothing.

The following morning, Brown meets with Pastor Nattapong (Anattiphong Phanon), a pastor of one of the most influential churches in Thailand, for breakfast at a nearby diner. The two discuss the former’s flight and his first night on this trip. When the conversation switches to what Brown experienced the previous night at the hotel, Nattapong poses a profound and thought-provoking question … and at the same time kind of challenges him.

Brown: “What’s the local church doing to stop this problem?”

Nattapong: “Reverand Brown, this is a long history. It feeds the lusts of man. I don’t wish to offend you, but Westerners from America, Germany, and other places help this business grow.”

Brown: “Well, this Westerner says somebody ought to do something about this.”

Nattapong: “Reverand Brown, there is not much thing we can do to stop this sin business. …”

Brown: “… I just simply cannot accept that nothing can be done. Tell me. How does society look at this?”

Nattapong: “This is about money. It’s about business. It’s about the tourist business. People have to survive. They would do everything to make themselves right even if it is wrong.”

Brown: I can’t get that little girl’s face out of my mind. Somebody needs to stop this.”

Nattapong: “You are somebody. Are you somebody?”

The Hope House

Once back in the U.S., Brown decides to be a “somebody.” He and his wife, Elizabeth (Dar Draper), fly back out to Thailand to visit a remote village in the northern part of the country. When they arrive via rickshaw, there is a young man there to buy or steal kids for the trafficking operation he is a part of. Fortunately, they shoo him away.

Brown and his wife decide to open the Hope House (now Hope House Children’s Home) in Chiang Mai, Thailand; however, they’re desperate for funding. Brown presents to a Ministerial Association in his hometown that initially decides not to help out before a member of the group meets with him privately and hands him a sizable check. Brown also meets with Women of Worth, which immediately collects $2,138.88 for the cause.

More than 15 years later, Hope House’s doors are still open. According to the “About Us” page on the facility’s website, “Most of the children who come to Hope House Children’s Home were living in abject poverty in remote villages in the highlands of Thailand.

“They are orphaned, abandoned or neglected and have no access to education. These young children in Thailand are at risk of being sold into prostitution or child labor.”4

What Can You Do?

Aren’t You Somebody?, along with the success of the 2023 film, Sound of Freedom, has brought the global human trafficking issue into the mainstream conscience. While it’s good to rally behind this important problem and provide change in this world and, more importantly, the lives of the millions of victims worldwide, we must not forget this banner that we hold high today tomorrow when our attention is directed toward another cause.

If we are going to “be somebody” and change the world, we must continue our fight against human trafficking not just today but every day until it has been eradicated. Are you ready to be somebody?

To help rescue more people text “GIVE” to 704-387-3888 or visit

To contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline, call 1-888-373-7888.

To learn more about Hope House Children’s Home visit