REVIEW

Movie Reviews: Trade and Human Trafficking

September 15, 2008
Kim

By coincidence, I happened to watch two movies dealing with the same subject in two days. One a video rental, the other, a Lifetime miniseries on Hallmark. Both deal with the subject of women and young children being kidnapped and sold in a modern day form of slavery.

Trade is a movie seen from the eyes of a Mexican teenager following the trail of his 13 year old sister and her kidnappers across the border. Human Trafficking mostly follows from the point of view of an NYPD agent working with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In both movies, the women are brought from all over the world into Mexico and then into the US by walking across the Mexican border.

Both show Mexican cops hand in glove with the traders. In both movies there is a scene where the Mexican cops get to "sample the merchandise" when it is being en route.

In Trade, the group is caught by the border police in the US and placed in detention until they can be sent back to Mexico. And the American officials simply turn away when one of the women tries to explain that they have been kidnapped.

Both movies are very realistic without being sensational or titillating. The horrors the girls and children (little boys and girls) face are unimaginable.

In Human Trafficking an entire set of young children is sequestered in a container and sent on a ship bound for Saudi Arabia on a 10 day journey from Mexico when their pimp gets news that the cops are about to raid his den.

Trade introduces two new child actors who are absolutely brilliant in their roles. Kevin Kline is the only well known actor in that movie and is in more of a supporting role.

Human Trafficking has a star cast of Donald Sutherland, Mira Sorvino and Robert Carlyle (the Scottish guy from Full Monty) who turns out an amazingly chilly performance as a Eastern European Sex Trade boss.

The entire situation of Human Trafficking is summed up absolutely eloquently in Mira Sorvino's press statement at the end of that movie.

Worth a watch for the realistic view of a universal problem. As Sorvino says, "It could be your daughter, your sister, your best friend next."

Kim blogs on a variety of subjects on her many blogs : Egypt, Restaurant Reviews, her alma mater, Mumbai & other stuff Currently she is in Egypt among the pyramids, bedouin & camels & blogging furiously about them all.
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#1
smallsquirrel
September 16, 2008
09:11 AM

human trafficking is a very serious and heartbreaking issue. the best movie I ever saw on the subject is "the Day My God Died" which is a documentary about girls who were trafficked from north india and nepal to bombay and forced to work as sex slaves.

although clearly, yes, there is a problem in the US and Mexico, with many people being trafficked through the US on the way to all sorts of places.

However, it is unlikley that any USCIS agent would turn their back on anyone claiming to be trafficked. They take that stuff really seriously, and there is a huge awareness campaign on right now about trafficking.

#2
kerty
September 16, 2008
01:24 PM

On the flip side of this issue, Immigration and custom officials routinely haul up people from their work places, throw them in hellish detention centers, leaving their family members and children wondering and crying in wilderness. These are not hijacked immigrants forced to migrate against their will but immigrants who willingly braved the world to come for better future who are now hijacked against their will and thrown into slavery and torture. Their estranged family members have no clue why their loved one did not return from work or if they met some accident and died, they would not know where they are detained, they can not even contact them or visit them nor detainees can contact anybody, nobody would know when they will be deported. In the mean time, estranged women and children lose their wage earners, would not know when and where their next meal and next rent is going to come from. These are families who have lived there for years, some have kids in schools with big dreams, some are pregnant needing medical attention, some are elderly needing special care - but suddenly, their world is hijacked and turned upside down, as they are hijacked, split apart from loved ones and thrown into hellish future. Lives of children, women are shattered. And this happens in far larger scale in real world than scripted scenarios the make-believe movies try to dramatize.

In the end, it comes down to what choices people should have to lead their lives. It should be about choices and freedom people should have to live where they want to live. Nobody should be forced to live where they do not want to live and nobody should be hijacked form places people willingly choose to live.

The logical corollary of pursuing globalized world order is that all nationalist barriers and bounderies have to melt into a global pot and people not be punished for crossing them. Ideas, capital, goods and services, trade, skills, human resources have to flow freely in a global world order. Therefore, national boundaries and nationalist protectionism have to yield, protectionist laws of nation-state based world order have to be reformed. Only thing that would remain a taboo is people being hijacked and forced to be where they do not want to be.

'Human traficking' acquires very broad connotations in a larger debate about globalization and immigration, especially when the terms is used by people who are opposed to globalization, and people who do champion global world order but sans open border flow of people.

#3
smallsquirrel
September 16, 2008
02:02 PM

kerty... the methods might not be the best, and yes at times the processes are deplorable and are in need of reform.... but any country has the right to enforce their immigration policies. are you seriously arguing that countries should just let people stay wherever they wish, even if they are there illegally?

#4
temporal
URL
September 16, 2008
02:53 PM

surprise, surprise!

such utopia!

is this out of the "communist manifesto"?

The logical corollary of pursuing globalized world order is that all nationalist barriers and bounderies have to melt into a global pot and people not be punished for crossing them. Ideas, capital, goods and services, trade, skills, human resources have to flow freely in a global world order.

#5
kerty
September 16, 2008
04:55 PM

T

On the contrary, communists like to build prison walls around their nations and consider all immigration as human trafficking. People who smuggle (willing) people into destination countries, people who willingly travel on fake documents and passports and identities, and people who facilitate these things are branded as 'human trafficking' by leftists. And they rely on revulsion associated with slave and sex trade to mobilize public opinion.

On the other hand, it is capitalist free-traders who want world without borders and without nationalist protectionism. They would like to restrict the global movements to only what they specialize in and confine the rest within strict nation-state parameters. So they get irked when they are reminded that their utopian world order sans borders comes with big caveats - and increasingly, one can't separate flow of services, knowledge, professional knowhow, skills and expertise, cost advantages etc from flow of people , and therefore any restrictive practices carried out thru immigration laws is just that - nationalist barriers and protectionism, and they have to be reformed. Immigration laws and persecution of immigrants have no place in a global order built on free-trade. But free-traders want their cake and eat it too. So if you see lots of inconsistencies and contradictions, its ok. Utopia and perfect world is precisely what we do not want.

#6
PK
September 16, 2008
05:11 PM

well well the people in these countries that have these immigration policies are really descendants of immigrants who once illegally and cruelly destroyed the local population and made these countries their homes... food for thought

#7
commonsense
September 16, 2008
05:13 PM

kerty:

""On the contrary, communists like to build prison walls around their nations"'

more utopian than it sounds, since, in theory at least, communists are not quite as attached to nations as are others...

#8
kerty
September 16, 2008
05:21 PM

SS

"..but any country has the right to enforce their immigration policies. are you seriously arguing that countries should just let people stay wherever they wish, even if they are there illegally?"

There are many laws in books that are outdated and never get enforced as focus and needs of society move on. Laws usually lags behind trends created by the society. Laws usually play catch up.

In America, there are millions of immigrants that one could classify as illegal. One could argue that they are felons and should be locked up, and their women and children be denied all opportunities except underground opportunities ie. slave work and sex trade. Or one can acknowledge that laws of the land are lagging in recognizing and accepting new realities created by new paradigm of freedom, equality, mobility, pursuit of happiness. I do not expect all nations to embrace it, but nations who champion them would be watched and critiqued how they handle issues created by their own idealism.

#9
temporal
URL
September 16, 2008
05:37 PM

kerty:

please reasearch for more;)


When all nations had developed socialist economies, they would begin to evolve into an international communist society. The vision of communism was very similar to that of anarchism: a stateless society in which central government had "withered away," local, ground-up control of all affairs by strictly democratic processes based at the place of work, abolition of the market system (no money, no buying and selling) and its replacement by a system according to which people would voluntarily work for the common good to the extent they were able under the understanding that they could receive whatever they needed for free ("from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs"). National boundaries and governments having been eliminated, war would cease.

#10
temporal
URL
September 16, 2008
05:39 PM

kerty:

please research for more;)


When all nations had developed socialist economies, they would begin to evolve into an international communist society. The vision of communism was very similar to that of anarchism: a stateless society in which central government had "withered away," local, ground-up control of all affairs by strictly democratic processes based at the place of work, abolition of the market system (no money, no buying and selling) and its replacement by a system according to which people would voluntarily work for the common good to the extent they were able under the understanding that they could receive whatever they needed for free ("from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs"). National boundaries and governments having been eliminated, war would cease.

#11
kerty
September 16, 2008
05:42 PM

CS

"in theory at least, communists are not quite as attached to nations as are others..."

In communist world view, in theory, state is everything, until it withers away after creating a utopia. Until than, nothing can be allowed to move or exist outside and beyond state.

#12
kerty
September 16, 2008
06:16 PM

T

Under communism, the centralized state and national boundaries are supposed to wither away only AFTER communism achieves its objectives thru such state. Until then, state and its prison-tight boundaries remain the main MEANS to achieve its ultimate state-less and boudary-less socialist utopia.

By contrast, capitalism needs nation-less and boundary-less open world as main MEANS to achieve its utopian global world order, that would be presided over by one super-power(super nation-state).

#13
temporal
URL
September 16, 2008
06:33 PM

kerty:

the quote in #4 and #12 they both refer to a certain "utopia"

an ultimate shangri la!

that is what am trying to point out

***

real world is a flux

#14
temporal
URL
September 16, 2008
06:38 PM

kerty:

the quote in #4 and #12 they both refer to a certain "utopia"

an ultimate shangri la!

that is what am trying to point out

***

real world is a flux

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