I am always on the lookout for films about sex trafficking, and finally had the opportunity to check out Lilya 4 EVER (2002), a movie about a 16 year-old girl from the former Soviet Union whose mother abandons her to move to the U.S. It is loosely based on a true case and sheds light on the sex trafficking of Eastern European girls to Scandinavia and Western Europe.
I generally place movies in one of two categories – those I can eat popcorn with and those that I cannot. Lilya 4 EVER falls into the latter. My stomach is in a knot as I watch this young girl’s abandonment and the vulnerability that she experiences.
We often like to think that trafficking victims are beautiful, middle-class girls from healthy families that are kidnapped and robbed of their innocence. This is what movies like Taken portray, probably because it is easy to fight for these types of girls. But what about the girls who come from impoverished families? Girls whose lives have been destroyed by drug use? Girls who, out of desperation, have sold their bodies on the streets before being trafficked into forced prostitution? Do we still have compassion for them? Or do we consider them to be tainted and not worth fighting for because of poor choices they made before they were trafficked?
This movie brings this questions to the forefront. In my mind, it is a realistic storyline that shows trafficking for what it is. It is ugly and violent. It targets those who have fallen through the cracks of society. It has reminded me that there are many hurting kids with no parents who need a loving home.
You can watch the full version of the film below. Please be warned that this is NOT for children and has violence and nudity. I have battled with myself whether or not to post this, but have decided to leave it with our readers to have discretion whether this is something they want to view or not. For those of you who do watch it, I would love to hear your response to the film.