Peter Landesman wrote a cover story for the New York Times Magazine in January of 2004 detailing the sex-slave trade running from Eastern Europe to Mexico and even into the United States. Girls are either tricked into leaving their towns with promises of better lives or kidnapped off the streets and sold as sex slaves. The 12-page article, entitled "The Girls Next Door," is still available to read at NYTimes.com and thoroughly outlines the practices of the perpetrators as well as the viewpoints of recovered victims. Trade is based on Landesman's article and shares a lot of the imagery he describes.
While riding her bicycle in her hometown, pre-teen Adriana (Paulina Gaitan) is abducted by Russian slave traders and locked in a holding house with an Asian boy, a Polish girl and a handful of other Mexican children. Her brother Jorge (Cesar Ramos) follows Adriana's captors, sneaking into the United States and crossing paths with American detective Ray Sheridan (Kevin Kline), whose own family issues influence him to help. When government authorities are unwilling to assist, Ray and Cesar bid on Adriana in a heart-pounding eBay-style online auction.
The film is at times very emotional as girls are abducted, raped, beaten and sold off, so be prepared for potential tears, especially since this happens in real life every day.
The mostly unknown cast delivers powerful and believable performances, and Trade is definitely worth getting a hold of if you can handle the imagery and appreciate a socially responsible theme.
This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.