The 2018 film, A Child’s Voice, directed by Edgar Michael Bravo and produced by No Restrictions Entertainment provides a rare fictionalized glimpse into the world of child trafficking.
This article won’t contain significant spoilers, but this writer will emphasize that the movie does not depict the sexual abuse of children in any way whatsoever, though it does contain disturbing references and events as part of the nature of addressing this topic. The movie covers multifaceted aspects of child trafficking rings in a fictionalized and sometimes supernatural sense, providing a rare take on the matter that by nature differs from non-fiction pieces, such as Amy Berg’s expose of Hollywood pedophilia, An Open Secret.
The film’s press release relates the sentiments of Karen Zgoda, PhD student in public policy who expressed the importance of the movie, saying: “Children that survive horrific sexual abuse and sex trafficking are seldom given a voice in our popular culture, and yet ‘A Child’s Voice’ not only gives them a voice but an avenue for justice for the crimes committed against them.”
The film masterfully intertwines the horrific reality of child trafficking networks with supernatural elements that ultimately convey the core message of the work, asking the audience members and the protagonists – will we listen to the voices of abused children, that have for so long gone unheard?
A Child’s Voice hinges on the actions two homeless teens, Kristy and Tim, who can be compared with the crucial role of the public in choosing to listen to or ignore the abuse of children amidst the hardships and dramas of our own lives. Building on this parallel, Kristy and Tim can be read as figurative representations of independent media working in all mediums who report on issues relating to child abuse that no one else will.
The teens are shown as intrinsic outsiders in almost every sense – they are outside family structure, the stability of household, and are not much older than the trafficked children themselves: yet, they are the ones called on by the voice of an abused child, to help. In fact, the only influential establishment figures in the movie are depicted as anonymous leaders and benefactors of the trafficking underworld.
One of the most critical aspects of the film isn’t contained within the limits of storyline and screen. It is the reaction inspired in viewers: Specifically, their actions once the movie ends.
This portrayal figuratively communicates that “insiders” will not expose or break down the ongoing patterns of abuse, whether in a political, legal or journalistic sense. Instead, it is up to the public and other ‘outsiders,’ including independent media, to make a difference by hearing and acting on the experiences of abused and trafficked children, as do Kristy and Tim. The film makes very clear that the story presented is a beginning of action, not the end of the issue with the resolution of a single instance of abuse.
That message is one that is important to understand for those who are tempted to wait for ‘someone on the inside’ to make change on their behalf.
The rarity of portrayals of child sex trafficking, much less fictionalized ones, makes A Child’s Voice a groundbreaking and essential film that bucks an film industry silence on the matter.
The press release relates No Restrictions’ President John Paul Rice description of the film’s message as: “About the unifying power of human beings’ love in the face of unconscionable horror and death.” Rice added, “It is our hope this piece of art will inspire people to take action in their homes, communities, and churches as well as work with local law enforcement and business leaders to put a permanent end to these criminal networks.”
The press release also states that No Restrictions Entertainment has: “Financed, produced and distributed six independent feature films over the past nine years, writing that the company’s projects have focused on topics that deal with issues ranging from homelessness, runaways, drug addiction, domestic violence, social justice and mental health. The company’s goal in making these films is to humanize issues not often addressed in Hollywood films and inspire actionable change.”
A Child’s Voice is available on Vimeo at this time.