Human Trafficking (miniseries)
Original release U.S. DVD cover art
|Written by||Carol Doyle
|Directed by||Christian Duguay|
|Theme music composer||Normand Corbiel|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|Running time||176 minutes|
|Original network||Lifetime Television|
|Original release||October 24 – October 25, 2005|
Human Trafficking is a television miniseries about an American Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent going undercover to stop an organization from trafficking people, and shows the struggles of three trafficked women. It premiered in the United States on Lifetime Television on October 24 and 25, 2005 and was broadcast in Canada on Citytv on January 2 and 3, 2006. It stars Mira Sorvino, Donald Sutherland, Rémy Girard, and Robert Carlyle.
In Prague, Czech Republic, single mother Helena (Isabelle Blais) is seduced by a successful handsome man and travels with him to spend a weekend in Vienna, Austria. He then sells her to Human Traffickers and she is brought to New York City to work as a sex slave. In Kiev, Ukraine, sixteen-year-old Nadia (Laurence Leboeuf) has recently finished school and, without her father's prior consent or knowledge, she enters a modelling competition. She is selected by the bogus model agency to travel to New York with the other selected candidates, here she is forced into a life of sexual slavery. In Manila, Philippines, twelve-year-old American tourist Annie Gray (Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse) is abducted in front of her mother in a busy street by sex traffickers. She is forced into a child brothel which primarily services sex tourists. In common, the girls become victims of a powerful international network of sex traffickers led by the powerful Sergei Karpovich (Robert Carlyle).
In New York, after the third death of young Eastern European prostitutes, tenacious Russian-American NYPD Detective Kate Morozov (Mira Sorvino) suspects that these women are being "Trafficked" by human trafficking gangs. Detective Morozov applies to become a Special Agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She is hired, trained, and sworn in as an I.C.E. Special Agent. She then convinces her new boss, Bill Meehan (Donald Sutherland), the Special Agent-In-Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's New York Field Office, to assign her to the investigation. Kate tells Mr. Meehan that the reason she joined I.C.E. was to fight against this type of crime. She promises him that he will not regret assigning her to this investigation.
She then busts a salon where girls are being trafficked in the basement. One of those girls happen to be Helena. She then goes to tell Kate that she has a daughter and that she is not safe. Kate tries to reassure her, but she says that her daughter Ivanka lives in Prague. She soon calls her mother in Prague and warns her. By that time Sergei had people in Prague ready to take her daughter, but they got away and in the hands of the police as soon as possible. Helena is told that her family is safe, but she is afraid to testify until her daughter is by her side. She then starts to give Kate details about where the girls are being held. She thanks her and like she promised, she would be reunited with her daughter. She takes her to a safe house where she and her daughter will be more safe. She is amazed by everything that has been set up for her and her daughter. She is given a couple of rules while in the house, and one of them is don't go outside. She is in her daughter's new room and looks out the window. She notices something familiar and goes outside. Kate is yelling for her to come back inside, but she is soon shot in the head and dies.
- Mira Sorvino – Agent Kate Morozov / Katya Morozova
- Donald Sutherland – Agent Bill Meehan
- Robert Carlyle – Sergei Karpovich
- Rémy Girard – Viktor Taganov
- Isabelle Blais – Helena Votrubova
- Laurence Leboeuf – Nadya Taganova
- Vlasta Vrána – Tommy
- Céline Bonnier – Sophie
- Mark Antony Krupa – Andrej
- Lynne Adams – Ellen Baker
- David Boutin – Frederick
- Emma Campbell – Samantha Gray
- Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse – Annie Gray
- Michael Sorvino – Misha Morozov
- Morgane Slemp - Susan
- Anna Hopkins – Katerina
- Dawn Ford - Viktoria Votrubova
The miniseries was produced by Muse Entertainment Enterprises for broadcast on Lifetime Television. In April 2005 Muse announced that principal photography had begun and that a Canadian broadcaster would be announced shortly. The miniseries was filmed in Montreal, Bangkok, and Prague and was completed in July 2005.
Human Trafficking received generally mixed to positive reviews by critics. Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times noted that Human Trafficking "avoids the seedy sensationalism that cheapens so many television depictions of the crime" and that it is "a harsh public-service message built into a clever, suspenseful thriller."
Tom Shales of The Washington Post was more negative as he found the miniseries an odd subject for Lifetime to broadcast. He noted that in attempting to, "expose a worldwide scandal" Human Trafficking, "happens to expose vast amounts of flesh in the process -- exploitation about exploitation."
John Doyle of The Globe and Mail was also negative towards the miniseries. He compared it to the "searing, shocking and hard to watch" CBC/Channel 4 miniseries Sex Traffic which "suggested a direct connection between the sex trade and NATO officials, and with Western corporations based in Eastern Europe. Doyle concluded that "While Human Trafficking is an international co-production with an international cast, it feels obstinately constructed to satisfy small-minded American viewers.
On October 25, 2005, Maple Pictures released a 2 disc DVD set of the mini-series in Canada, which contained interviews with the director and the five principal cast members on the second disc. Echo Bridge Home Entertainment released the miniseries on a single DVD in the U.S. on May 2, 2006 with deleted scenes not shown during the airing on Lifetime, interactive resources, and scene selections. The Canadian DVD is rated 14A; the U.S. release is labeled Not Rated by the MPAA due to enhanced violence of the deleted scenes.
Awards and nominations
- Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: Donald Sutherland (nominated)
- Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: Robert Carlyle (nominated)
- Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie, or Special (Original Dramatic Score): Normand Corbeil (nominated)
- Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie: Mira Sorvino (nominated)
- Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie: Donald Sutherland (nominated)
- Best Costume Design: Marianne Carter (won)
- Best Dramatic Mini-Series: Michael Prupas, Christian Duguay, Irene Litinsky (won)
- Best Production Design or Art Direction in a Dramatic Program or Series: Guy Lalande (won)
- Best Sound in a Dramatic Program: Michel B. Bordeleau, Natalie Fleurant, Louis Gignac, Hans Peter Strobl (nominated)
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series: Isabelle Blais (nominated)
- "Muse Entertainment Enterprises Announces the Start of Principal Photography of HUMAN TRAFFICKING" (PDF) (Press release). Muse Entertainment Enterprises. April 22, 2005. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
- "Productions: Human Trafficking". Muse Entertainment Enterprises. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
- Stanley, Alessandra (October 24, 2005). "Selling Sex, That Renewable Resource". The New York Times (registration required). Retrieved January 16, 2011.
- Shales, Tom (October 24, 2005). "'Human Trafficking': Exploiting Misery, And Creating It". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
- "Human Trafficking". Amazon.ca. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
- "Human Trafficking (2005)". Amazon.com. Retrieved January 16, 2011.