Over 100.000 people a year are unlawfully trafficked into the USA to be part of the sex industry, and “Trade”, the new film from German director Marco Kreuzpaintner, is a brutally honest account of the horrors these people go through.
The story centres around Adriana, a 13 year old Mexican girl who is kidnapped from her home by sex traffickers. Her 17 year old brother, Jorge (Cesar Ramos), must track and infiltrate the underground network of international criminals who are taking her across the border into America. During the ordeal, Adriana meets a Polish girl, also kidnapped for the sex trade, and the two must comfort each other as their nightmare unfolds. Meanwhile, Jorge meets Ray (Kevin Kline), a Texas policeman who is searching for clues relating to the loss of his own daughter, also believed to have been sold to sex traffickers. Together they forge a close bond as they race to save Adriana from her kidnappers before she is sold and lost forever.
“Trade” is an intense drama intended to make us more aware of the crime of human trafficking. It provides moments of sorrow and horror, but fails to grip you to your seat. At times the story meanders like a river, changing course for no apparent reason, which does little to help character development. The film does start to gain momentum towards the end, but is let down by a Hollywood style ending.
It does, however, make its audience think about what goes on that we don´t know about, and for this reason it is a film worth watching.