Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Human Trafficking: (Not Exactly) A Review

NOTE: This is my reaction paper for the movie, as required from us by our Issues in Contemporary Society professor.

Do you feel like a man when you push her around?
Do you feel better now as she falls to the ground?
Well, I'll tell you my friend: one day this world's going to end.
As your lies crumble down, a new life she has found.

I remembered these lines from a song by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus while starting to write this reaction paper. The full lyrics of “Face Down”, although the song is about a girl suffering from an abusive boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, perfectly suit the theme of the 2005 American TV series, Human Trafficking. Our professor included watching a DVD of the series in our learning activities for our current lesson in Issues in the Contemporary Society: human trafficking. And I, for myself, enjoyed the movie not only because of its gripping plot and excellent portrayal of its cast but also because of the change it did to my views about the said crime.

The portrayal of the victims’ roles in the film was so dynamic and lifelike that I thought of the real-life victims of human trafficking as I viewed the film. If the victims in the film got extremely exhausted and injured—physically and psychologically—as they were forced to work as sex slaves, how terrible it must be for those who were trafficked in real life! I understood the reaction of some victims in the scene where Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Kate Morozov (Mira Sorvino) rebukes them for not complying with her plan to rescue them because of the severe trauma their hellish experiences in their ‘jobs’ had incurred in them.

Through the film, I got to learn about the different strategies in human trafficking. First is dating, where the trafficker disguises as a nice guy befriending and dating his victim, then brings his date to the trafficking den; this was illustrated in the first part of the film where single mother Helena Votrubova (Isabelle Blais) is deceived by Sergei Karpovich (Robert Carlyle) when he invites her spend a weekend with him in Vienna, Austria. Next is when Karpovich and company posed as modelling agents; here, 16-year-old Nadia Tagarov (Laurence Leboeuf) joins and wins their bogus agency’s contest along with some other teens and ends up being a sex slave. Another is direct abduction, as what had happened to the 12-year-old American tourist Annie Gray (Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse). The last is the bargain between a Filipino trafficker and a Northern Luzon father who sold his daughter to the trafficker out of their family’s extreme poverty.

The film also emphasizes Kate’s initiative to investigate human trafficking cases and to organize a rescue operation for the victims. Her cause succeeded in the end of the movie, and after watching the film, it made me wish that the real-life trafficking victims would be rescued, too, and their lives repaired. Out there in our society, I know that there are Kates rising up, fighting for the redemption of these victims, although their efforts are sometimes hampered by social injustice. The movie shows, though, that we need not abandon all hope for this social issue to be resolved.

The song chorus in the first paragraph ended positively; the film finished in victory as well. I also wish the same thing for the fight of those in the clutches of human traffickers—and of the courageous who push through, no matter what, for their happy ending.

Special thanks to CheckUserAccount for the image, and The Internet Movie Database for the movie information.

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