The Movie Taken & Human Trafficking

I landed a review gig this week for the movie Taken. I was more excited about the opportunity for paying work and didn’t care much what movie it was. I hadn’t heard anything about the flick, and the basic premise of a man tracking down his abducted daughter didn’t sound all that appealing (predictable much?).

But as the credits rolled I cried.

This is the third time I remember crying in the movie theater (care to guess what other movies prompted waterworks?). I readily admit that I cry more easily since becoming a parent and I don’t see many movies in the theater, but it’s still a rare reaction.

It wasn’t so much the movie that moved me, but a simple realization. The movie is about an ex-CIA agent who tracks down the men who abducted his daughter in order to sell her in the slave trade. I realized that most victims of human trafficking don’t have Liam Neeson to go all CIA operative on their captors. They have nobody. There is no rescue filled with tears of joy. There is no happy reunion.

That is the reality of human trafficking. And it’s in your backyard: less than two years ago there was a human trafficking bust about a mile from my house.

If you want to do something about it, the International Justice Mission and One Voice to End Slavery are a good places to start.

8 thoughts on “The Movie Taken & Human Trafficking”

  1. “Taken” demonstrates the fact that movies can foster a lot of awareness about issues in the world — in this case: human-trafficking

  2. I felt the same way you did at the end of the movie. I thought there should have been a paragraph at the end that fostered awareness by saying something like your last three paragraphs. But there were just credits. :(

  3. This movie is really interesting to watch, and the reason is probably that good is defeating evil, we get the enjoyment from seeing bad guy (who deserve it) getting killed. Action seems to be non stop, you just can loose interest through entire movie.
    But it just made me think, that it is not the happiest ending, dad saves his doter, in process killing some bad guys, but it all remains as it was, as long as his doter is save, this doesn’t concern him. At the end it really made you want to cry, and I would if I could :]. Just hope it make more people think about things nut just Trafficking, but all the things that happen in the world but we are unaware of them most of the time.

    I guess other movie that made you cry could be Click.

  4. Thanks for this post…really. I recently saw this movie while working Kosovo and it really freaked me out. I am in a counrty that is known for its ties to human trafficking via the Albanian Mafia…I went to the movie’s website and was shocked to find that there was no info whatsoever about the realities of human trafficking or what can be done to fight it. It could have been a great platform for that!!! People!!! This is not just a great action flick…this is really happening all over the world and under our very noses. Anyway a very good site I found on the subject is

  5. While I agree with most bloggers stating that the movie Could have been a great platform of awareness for human trafficking, I believe many people are missing the fact that the subject is greatly disrespected within the film. I too left the film crying, but not because it showed a small reality of human trafficking but because of its blatant ignorance and abuse of a real world issue. This movie is an action film that takes advantage of the tragedy of human trafficking. Never once does the film inform the audience of what human trafficking is and it does a damn good job of discriminating the women and girls into who is worthy to live and die and be subjected to unbearable amounts of pain. The movie practically says ‘if your a virginal white American girl, you don’t have to worry about being raped, there are people in the world who would die to save you, but if you have a promiscuous attitude, your live no longer matters and its okay if you die. Oh and if your from any other country your life is only as important as the information you have about the puritanical white girl.” (really can anyone tell me the name of the young girl who had Neeson’s character’s daughter’s jacket?) While some might point out that American virgins are a more sought after commodity in this business, the idea that she would last so long as a virgin is ridiculous. Traffickers move fast, she would have been sold at a very high prices within 24 hours. It is a huge risk to hold onto such ‘valued merchandise’ and it is so in-demand that it would be impossible for Neeson to arrive perfectly on time to save her. In addition to this I think the movie is cruel to most countries (especially Europe) by choosing to distant human trafficking from America. The ‘buffer zone’ of Europe allows the average American viewer to feel more comfortable about the kidnapping and trafficking because it removes the reality from our backdoor. The movie practically says that this issue only touches Americans when we are out of our own country–a complete fabrications to secure its American audiences.
    The truth is that human trafficking is tie with firearms as the second largest illegal industry in the world (this includes the US). Approximately 244,000 American children and youth are at risk to human trafficking and over 80,000 American men, women, and children are trafficked every year within our own country.
    While I believe that it is beneficial for movies to highlight global issues and to make people a little more aware of what goes on in the world, Taken was a backwards step in informing people. It simply takes a global issues and exploits the matter (and the victims) through ‘its suppose to be fun’ action film. Seriously, would it have made much of a difference if she was simply kidnapped by people wanting revenge on Neeson for his past actions. Why was it necessary to use human trafficking as a back drop if it wasn’t going to inform the public (even just a little) on the realities of human trafficking. This movie has hurt me more that any other. If it had taken even 1 minute to give facts or show sympathy to the subject matter my feeling about it would be different. But the film clearly was about a child and her father’s terrible and selfish relationship and how kidnapping and executing revenge makes there bond a more powerful one. What a joke, even at the end, after everything that the girl has gone through and seen she and Neeson’s character only think about their relationship and getting her everything she wants. No thoughts about the horrors of human trafficking, no sadness over her friend, just a slightly distressed American girl returning home to the safe lands of American.
    This action film should have stuck with action drops not global issues.

  6. brittany – what a great post. you are so right on the money. to be honest, i didnt realize half the things you said until you pointed it out, and now that you mention it, i realize you are completely right. why was there absolutely no information, even in the credits, about human trafficking? i too, felt like the kidnapping came out of nowhere and i needed more background info. Is Paris a particularly bad place to go? how often does this happen? who are the likely targets? is human trafficking always for prostitution or something else too? amsterdam is famous for having all those hookers in the window. is this how they get the hookers? what percentage of them are forced into prostitution and what percentage choose it? i definitely needed some statistics on this issue.

    and i agree with you completely on how silly the ending was. no mention is made of the other girl amanda, there is no discussion at all between any of the characters about what Liam Neeson had to go through to save her, etc. For god’s sake, his selfish daughter doesnt even insist on giving him a ride home from the airport, he says he’ll catch a cab, and she says ok. and i too, was surprised by how it ended, visiting the home of that silly pop singer. who cares about that? what a shallow way to end a movie with so much potential!

  7. Film attempted to cram in way too much. Jason Bourne plus a huge theme…and the ending was farcical….which is a shame as it could have been a really hard hitting film in the hands of a different director perhaps.

    There’s alot of very brave people out there trying to make a difference in this netherworld of human traffic

    aaron cohen is one of them

  8. the movie is great i like it much but many people says that it is not good to show this movie to public because many people will know the pact of e legal trafficking.

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