I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.
I just watched Operation Zucker, a film about child trafficking set in Berlin. It was done by ARD (Germany’s primary public channel), and was considered so depressing that they were forced to censor it and show two different versions of it—the first during prime time, and the second, super-depressing version (the one I saw) after midnight. It aired Wednesday night and I saw it on their online Mediathek.
What does matter is that I really do feel awful. Unlike The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (and the two other books/films in that trilogy), there was no bad-ass chick to wreak havoc on her abusers. Just a little girl from Romania who loved bears and had the horrible misfortune of being born in a family where people feel compelled to sell their children. Whether or not the family in this case actually believe that they are sending ten-year-old Fee to a training school in Germany is debatable, as far as I’m concerned. But if so, it reminds me of the British film with John Simms, Sex Traffic, about two sisters from Moldova who thought they were signing up for hotel jobs in London. Nightmare.
In any case, Operation Zucker was bleak. Very bleak. Just look at that picture.
Like the Swedish trilogy, the film makes it pretty clear that trafficking (children or otherwise) is virtually impossible to stop as long as that much money is changing hands, and people in positions of power to stop it, are often involved themselves. But unlike the Swedish trilogy, there is no happy end, at least in the original version that I saw, and the idea of the censored version makes me sick. In fact, all they do in that version is not show what everyone knows is about to happen. You have to be at least 16 to see the uncensored version, while 12-year-olds can see the censored one. What, young people might feel bad if they see a film that approaches the reality of what so many young people are going through? So, kids watching TV need to be protected while kids …
Give me a fucking break.
In any case, respect to ARD for a powerful film.
For more information or to see what you can do, visit UNICEF’s child protection site.