Saturday, December 15, 2007

The saddest thing in the world

After seeing this movie, I cried more than I have with any other movie. The movie is

Trade (2007)

Based on
The New York Times > Magazine > The Girls Next Door
By PETER LANDESMAN Published: January 25, 2004.

Please be advised that below the movie poster, I write a bit about my thoughts, which may contain spoilers to the movie.

Trade (2007) explores the trafficking of human sex slaves, captured against their will and/or tricked into slavery with false promises of a better life in America. Trade weaves several tales into one -- that of Veronica, a young Ukrainian woman who traveled to Mexico in hopes of better income in America; that of Adriana, a teenage Mexican girl who is kidnapped from the streets of Mexico City while riding a bicycle
bought by her brother with money he swindled from a US tourist with the false promise of prostitutes; that of Jorge, Adriana's brother, who goes across the continent to rescue his kidnapped sister; that of Raymond, the US cop who meets Jorge on his own mission to find his lost daughter, last seen some 10 years ago before being sold by her own junkie mother into the untraceable, unfathomable sex slave trade.

Women of whom Veronica was based had no more understanding of America than what little they extrapolated from the impossibly romanticized and distorted lens that is Hollywood movies. The promise of a faraway country brings hope and dreams, as it had before with so many generations of immigrants. Based on the pureness of hope that had built entire countries of immigrants, Trade explores how that hope is distorted and exploited into the most unimaginable nightmare.

Incredibly strong and faithful through the very end, Adriana delivers possibly the most memorable line of the movie, "Veronica te mira. No es demasiado tarde." She appeals to the common faith that binds her and her captor, Manuelo. With these simple and poignant exchange, the rawest of human emotions is captured -- fear, faith, hope, remorse, and forgiveness.

Unlike the two women protagonists in the film, the two male protagonists are depicted more multi-dimensionally. In addition to being victims, they are also victors and perpetrators of related crimes. Jorge pedaled images of prostitutes to men while his sister was being captured to be sold as a sex slave. Raymond committed adultery against his wife and produced a child who was forsaken by her own forsaken mother, his mistress.

In the last scene of the movie, Jorge angrily stabs the Russian leader of the trade ring. The Russian's prostitutes and customers scatter in a flurry of fear and confusion. And finally, the Russian's son yells, "Papa," in the street stained with his fathers blood. We see Jorge's face once more, now with anger tinged with uncertainty.

I normally don't write about things this serious in blogosphere, but this movie on the trade of sex slaves has particularly struck me. I have started to research this topic a bit. I've found several articles highlighting this issue since this decade's start, but haven't yet found anything that may lead to some change in this problem. I will continue to research this issue and report what I find here. Please stay tuned.

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