The United Nations Report of Human Trafficking estimates a conservative and documented 60,000 persons are sold into either prostitution or slave labour around the world annually. These numbers affect countries around the world, without any exception. The film Tricked by Jane Wells and John Keith Wasson tries to address this menace through the eyes of some victims as the filmmakers venture through the length and breadth of the United States. From Denver Colorado to Boston Massachusetts, from the glitter of Vegas to the small towns it seems like it’s the same story, where vulnerable and desperate young people are forced into the emotionally and physically debilitating monstrosity that is the sex trade.
The film is candid and emotionally troubling as these lives unravel before us. The modus of the “Pimps” who force people into the sex trade is the same: get them young and vulnerable, emotionally trap them through promises of love, affection (as one of the victim terms it as “boyfriending”) and then the subservience and sexual exploitation begins.
The documentary is not unique in narrative style or texture, as it moves between talking heads to some real life situations, but it does bring an interesting spectrum of players (police officers, pimps, clients who pay for sex, the victims themselves) thus attempting a multi-faceted perspective from everyone who seems implicated.
While the film is brave in exploring a difficult social menace delicately, it does restrict the discussion to a personal somber view of the problem without a specific and aggressive social or political message. The length suggests a medium-length film approach; I would have surely liked some investigation surrounding the economic, demographic and racial factors that affect the sex trade. Historically, gender has been the primary victim of prostitution, however its known to be rampant across genders and victimize certain economic and ethnic groups, more than others. A deeper exploration through this prism would be very enlightening.
Finally, a question to the research behind the human stories: it was apparent that all the pimps implicated in the documentary (interviewed, nabbed by the cops, etc.) were black. Is there a lurking socio-economic and demographic story waiting to be unearthed?
Tricked tells you how our lust continues to drive our civilized world in the 21st century and no one can claim to be exonerated from it. Watch it for our inhumanity.