I just finished watching the trailer for TRADE, opening in theaters on Friday, September 28.
TRADE was inspired by a NY Times Magazine story on sex trade in the United States, “The Girls Next Door.” It was written three years ago, but it’s still very relevant. It’s long, detailed and a must read. Written by Peter Landesman, the article attempts to paint a verbal picture of a reality even hardened police officers could not believe after first hand experience.
“On a tip, the Plainfield (NJ) police raided the house in February 2002, expecting to find illegal aliens working an underground brothel. What the police found were four girls between the ages of 14 and 17. They were all Mexican nationals without documentation. But they weren’t prostitutes; they were sex slaves. The distinction is important: these girls weren’t working for profit or a paycheck. They were captives to the traffickers and keepers who controlled their every move. ”I consider myself hardened,” Mark J. Kelly, now a special agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security), told me recently. ”I spent time in the Marine Corps. But seeing some of the stuff I saw, then heard about, from those girls was a difficult, eye-opening experience.”
The police found a squalid, land-based equivalent of a 19th-century slave ship, with rancid, doorless bathrooms; bare, putrid mattresses; and a stash of penicillin, ”morning after” pills and misoprostol, an antiulcer medication that can induce abortion. The girls were pale, exhausted and malnourished.
It turned out that 1212 1/2 West Front Street was one of what law-enforcement officials say are dozens of active stash houses and apartments in the New York metropolitan area — mirroring hundreds more in other major cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago — where under-age girls and young women from dozens of countries are trafficked and held captive. Most of them — whether they started out in Eastern Europe or Latin America — are taken to the United States through Mexico.”
The trailer is powerful. And while it’s impossible to judge the quality of a movie by the theatrical trailer, I can only hope the presence of an Academy Award winning actor, Kevin Kline, and an Academy Award nominated writer, Jose Rivera, will drive many to see it and recognize how pervasive the issue of child slavery is. Last week, the film was screened at the United Nations to help illustrate the cruelty of child slavery and sex trafficking.
Unfortunately, I was one of the 25% who said that this is a problem that must be approached on a political level. Though I am hopeful that this film will indeed raise consciousness of the issue. The more voices we have making noise, the stronger the possibility of change in the right places.
“There is something about the nature of this whole business where people just prefer to look away,” Kevin Kline said. “The network is vast and very efficient. Billions of dollars are at stake and they mean business, these trafficking rings.” (Source: BostonHerald.com)
The movie’s website has a “Get Involved” link that highlights a large number of organizations formed to end human trafficking: Human Rights Organizations Involved With Slave Trade.