Screen Time: 55%
Age: 12 years old
Adriana (Paulina Gaitan) is a 13-year-old girl from Mexico City whose kidnapping by sex traffickers sets in motion a desperate mission by her 17-year-old brother, Jorge (Cesar Ramos), to save her. Trapped and terrified by an underground network of international thugs who earn millions exploiting their human cargo, Adriana's only friend and protector throughout her ordeal is Veronica (Alicja Bachleda), a young Polish woman tricked into the trade by the same criminal gang.
As Jorge dodges immigration officers and incredible obstacles to track the girls' abductors, he meets Ray (Kevin Kline), a Texas cop whose own family loss to sex trafficking leads him to become an ally in the boy's quest. Fighting with courage and hard-tested faith, the characters of Trade negotiate their way through the unspeakable terrain of the sex trade "tunnels" between Mexico and the United States.
From the barrios of Mexico City and the treacherous Rio Grande border, to a secret internet sex slave auction and the final climactic confrontation at a stash house in suburban New Jersey, Ray and Jorge forge a close bond as they give desperate chase to Adriana's kidnappers before she is sold and disappears forever into this brutal global underworld, a place from which few victims ever return.
This film has many powerful moments, ones that hit you in the gut. When you see one of these slavers punch a woman in the face, or an escaping girl hit by a car, or a young woman raped, or a 13-year-old girl crying, wanting to go home to her mom, or a young boy held down while a man injects him with heroine in order to control him, you’ll wish you were anywhere but at that theater.
That said, if these enactments cause a motivating concern, then perhaps we should see this film. The visuals of these brutalizations drive home the fact that such an institution still exists. It thrives.
In the film we see people bidding to buy a young girl on the Internet. From what I understand, this is actually possible, that such transactions actually occur via the information superhighway. My God.