Sometimes important issues do not get the quality they are due. Sex trafficking happens all over the world and targets vulnerable young women. A frightening subject, but this is not the film which best depicts its realities.
Child sex-trafficking is a serious issue. So much so that it is hard to present it in film in a realistic but a non-exploitative and non-gratuitous way. There is a fine line between depicting it in a realistic way which does not go overboard. Most films’ hearts are in the right place in that they want to bring about the end of sex trafficking via awareness.
Teenager Angie (Jane Widdop – appeared in episodes of 2 Broke Girls and Fresh Off the Boat) is going through that difficult phase which most her age do. Her parents don’t really notice as they are wrapped up in their own crap. So much so that Angie is able to date a cute guy without them knowing.
Mario (Dylan Sprayberry – from television’s Teen Wolf) might be cute and seem like the perfect boyfriend, but actually he is recruiting Angie into a sex trafficking network. He is being forced by those running the group to bring in young girls to be held prisoner and then made to do sex work.
Her parents go to the police when Angie goes missing. They all begin to look for the missing teen after the police inform them that Angie has been taken captive by a child sex-trafficking ring. Meanwhile, Angie is now part of a world involving abuse and rape.
She manages to escape and even though she finds herself now safe, Angie can’t help thinking of the girls she left behind. Her life now exists under a shadow of constant fear that they will find her again and shame of what happened. Realizing that she is going to have to do something to try to heal, Angie decides that she is going to attempt to save those girls she left behind.
Maybe director Julie Verdin (first feature film) is too close to the issue. She spent time as a volunteer at a runaway shelter in Los Angeles, so I would assume she came in contact with girls who were victims of sex trafficking. Or it could be that the budget was too small for what she wanted to do. A case of being overly ambitious. The whole thing seems to get away from Verdin. She doesn’t see the whole thing folding in on itself like a house of cards.
There are some important messages buried within which should be highlighted, though. That stronger laws are required, education about sex trafficking needs to happen at schools and cities/communities need to get on board with spending more time fighting for its eradication.