SOS Cartel_RGB_10-28-2016 web


At Sands of Silence (Sands of Silence), a 15-year quest to expose the underworld of sexual trafficking and exploitation from Asia to the Americas, ends up taking journalist Chelo Álvarez-Stehle back to the windswept beach where her childhood ended and their family secrets began. Documenting the transformation of young women in Mexico and Nepal from helpless victims to resilient survivors and passionate activists, Chelo undertakes a parallel journey toward personal healing and family reconciliation. An intimate story about an endemic problem, Sands of Silence celebrates the triumph of the spirit with a call to action to break the chains of sexual exploitation around the world.

United States, 2016


Chelo Álvarez-Stehle


Chelo Álvarez-Stehle


Chelo Álvarez-Stehle

Executive production:

Deirdre Roney

Mark Stehle

Associated production:

Mabel Valdivieso

Lara Weithorn

Production consulting:

Gabriela Bohm

Klara Grunning-Harris

Iones Hernandez

Lorena Manriquez


Kate Amend

Jean-Philippe Boucicaut

Marla Ulloa

Maria Zeiss


Jason Castillo

Duration: 86'

Country of production:



SAND_fotografiaDelDirectorHe has worked as a journalist and documentary filmmaker for nearly two decades exposing stories of sexual exploitation and trafficking. He was born and raised in Spain and worked in Japan on documentaries for NHK and as a correspondent for the Spanish newspaper The world in Tokyo and then in Los Angeles, when he moved to California in 1995. In 2002, Canal+ Spain transformed its first report on child trafficking in the Himalayas into the documentary film Tin Girls. He has produced/made several short documentaries, including: A tale of modern slavery and, more recently, through the wall, a short documentary about a family divided by the border between the US and Mexico. He is producing/making a high social impact video game SOS_SLAVES and a series of microdocumentaries on sexual exploitation and trafficking, SOS Interactiveor.


  • First Silver Biznaga Award in its world premiere in April at the Malaga Festival
  • Audience Award for Best Documentary Film at its premiere in October at the Awareness Film Festival of the Angels
  • Awards for Best Documentary and Audience Award at the Malibu International Film Festival.