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An important but difficult subject matter

  • Sep 21, 2009
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If the topics of human trafficking, sex slavery and child abduction don't combine to sound to like a great Saturday night at the movies, you're probably right but the issues raised here warrant attention from every one of us. Although the characters in the film are fictitious, the subject matter is very real, and is largely ignored in every country in which it occurs.

According to the CIA,  around 50,000-100,000 people are illegally trafficked into the US every year for the purpose of being sold as prostitutes and sex slaves, a number which climbs to over a million globally. Often purchased by pedophiles, many are children and are drugged to prevent them escaping or getting help. While the film focuses on minors kidnapped in Mexico City and smuggling across the border, where Mexican border patrols trade sex for free passage, the truth is that this happens all over the world, and is usually orchestrated by Eastern European organized crime gangs. A mixture of young adult girls and children, they eventually get auctioned off for thousands of dollars, making this an extremely lucrative business - and then they disappear without a trace.

In the movie, the issue is presented from the point of view of a small-time Mexican thief whose 13 year-old daughter is abducted from local streets and smuggled to New Jersey to be sold as a child prostitute. Played flawlessly by newcomer Cesar Ramos, his character tirelessly tracks her down with the help of a Texan cop (Kevin Kline) who has previously lost a daughter to the traffickers. Ostensibly a straightforward plot, there are various characters we meet along the way that serve to illuminate the plight of the "human cargo": a 10 year-old boy smuggled from Thailand to be sold to a US pedophile; the Polish woman whose son has been kidnapped as insurance to make her comply.

Needless to say, this isn't an easy movie, but I defy anyone not to feel furious after watching it. While we tell kids about the fictitious monsters in this world - the ghost in the closet, the bogeyman under the bed - we overlook that the real monsters are other people. If ever there was a case for the death penalty without appeal, the agents involved in human trafficking are at the top of the list. 

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review by . December 12, 2009
Trade takes a much ignored topic, the global sex trade, and gives it attention, in a movie that doesn't seem to know what direction it is going in.    The plot itself is pretty basic, two different women from two different countries are obtained for the global sex trade, one by kidnap and one by deception. The thieving brother of the young kidnapped girl goes on a quest to track and find his sister.    Enter Kevin Kline who is on a quest of his own, he find …
review by . January 31, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Based on an article written by Peter Landesman, who also wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay with Jose Rivera ('The Motorcycle Diaries'), TRADE literally forces us to experience the cruel, vicious international market for sex slaves. It is brutally captured on film by director Marco Kreuzpaintner ('Summer Storm') in a manner that spares nothing to unveil the atrocities created by the many people form all countries who ply this trade. It is a tough film to watch, but it is also an important …
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James Beswick ()
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Trade, a controversial drama that aims to enlighten viewers to the horrors of the international sex slave trade, functions in a somewhat documentary mode due to its purposefully repellent nature. Written by Jose Rivera, who also adapted to screen theMotorcycle Diaries, Trade opens in Mexico City where a tourist, Weronika (Alicja Bachleda-Curus), is kidnapped right before a thirteen year-old Mexican girl, Adriana (Paulina Gaitan) is yanked off her bike and pushed into a black Mercedes. Quickly, the two young women meet in various squalid conditions, alternating turns of abuse and rape with sleazy men who prepare them for international sale over the Internet. A vengeful plot kicks in once Adriana's brother, Jorge (Cesar Ramos) and Texas policeman, Ray Sheridan (Kevin Kline), fatefully unite to rescue Adriana in hopes of eliminating this repugnant operation.Tradeis nothing short of a melodrama; the script is overwrought, and many scenes are morbid and graphic. When Adriana has been captured by U.S. border patrol, sits in prison, and a Texas high school student offers her, in Spanish, friendship and an issue of Glamour magazine, one feels the soap opera line being crossed. However, the political message inTradeis strong and preaching aside, viewers may realize that any exposure of women's rights violations is for the greater good. —Trinie Dalton
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