A woman from White City, Sask., says she was stunned to hear the stories of girls in the Philippines who were pulled into the sex trade.

Carmen Nadler is back in Canada after three weeks in the Asian country working on a documentary about the sex trade.

"It was exhilarating... scary," Nadler told CBC Radio's The Morning Edition host Sheila Coles.

Carmen Nadler

Nadler, second from left, was part of a group that recently went to the Philippines to film a documentary. (Submitted by Carmen Nadler)

Nadler, who is the owner of a design business with her husband, has no background in filmmaking, but her friend, Sadhvi Siddhali Shree, does.

Shree, a monk with the Siddhayatan Spiritual Retreat, a non-profit organization, is making the film, titled Stopping Traffic.

Nadler volunteered to help her "in any way that I possibly could," and became part of the crew.

The project takes a look at the sex trafficking of girls and women in the Philippines, and elsewhere.

Nadler said she learned about the key role Westerners play exploiting the girls, but also how relatives get them involved in the life — including "cybersex" schemes.

Carmen Nadler and Sadhvi Siddhali Shree

Carmen Nadler (left) accompanied Sadhvi Siddhali Shree to the Philippines to film a documentary about sexual exploitation. (Submitted by Carmen Nadler)

"They actually encourage their children to go ahead and pose in front of the camera and do all sorts of things for money because they are desperate," she said. 

Despite being abused at an early age, many of girls she met are optimistic about a better life.

"The shelters are really supportive," she said. "They keep them there until they can be reintegrated. They educate them, they teach them how to sew. They teach them a lot of practical skills."

The documentary received funding from individual donors. Nadler said she hopes it will be completed by the end of the summer.