I was blown away by the production value and performances of HUMAN TRAFFICKING. Unlike most Lifetime movies, this one actually hits the viewer between the eyes with its raw, unflinching telling of various women's stories of trafficking across international borders for sex slave labour.
Loosely inspired by actual victims' stories, the women range from 12 years old to late thirties. They are tourists, single moms, women in bad relationships that need help, even a young girl looking for fame and fortune in the modeling industry.
The formula for the traffickers is simple: recruit women and girls that are desperate to get out of their current living situations, desperate to get a better paying job, desperate to go to the U.S. for a better life; make them believe the traffickers can deliver this promise, and submit their passports and papers to them. Once the traffickers have the girls and their documents, they can do anything they want to them. Some get moved around Europe, others end up in the U.S. all as sex slaves.
Robert Carlyle gives a riveting performance as Sergei Karpovich, the kingpin of the trafficking business. He's ruthless and cruel, yet intriguing to watch at the same time. He sets up his "businesses" to look like legitimate ventures, while operating a sex ring behind the scenes.
One thing that makes the character interesting is his smoothness when dealing with his doctor and the I.C.E. agents, while showing a sadistic evil side towards his employees and slaves. Definitely a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Mira Sorvino also gives a gritty performance as Kate Morozov, the I.C.E. agent that pursues Karpovich relentlessly as he builds his sex empire. Sorvino's conviction in getting these people caught and tried almost pushes her over the edge of sanity.
The scenes are gritty and unflinching. The material is difficult to view at times, but is well worth it in the end; in order to understand the universe in which these people operate, and the despair the victims face each day of their lives in captivity.
The film also addresses the problem of the market for these traffickers: they are doctors, lawyers, neighbours, relatives. Regular white-collar people that pay for these slaves' services. As long as there is a market, there will be sex slave traffickers.
See this film in its entirety at least once. It is unlike any Lifetime movie you have ever seen.
I only wish it was theatrically released for more exposure, so those who don't have access to CATV or Lifetime TV can also see it.
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