American Sex Trafficking Examined Through Indie Film "8 Days"

There’s an unspoken lie Americans have unwittingly given into. Without even knowing it, they’ve convinced themselves that sex trafficking is only a problem in other countries. How could something so horrific be happening under our very noses in the land of the free and the home of the brave? Our ignorance and denial of the problem is the very reason why.

Independent film “8 Days” looks to expose audiences to the truth about human trafficking in our own communities and the great U.S.A. Director Jaco Booyens does a phenomenal job setting up all the characters in the film very quickly so that there is an instant connection. It’s amazing what he achieves on a micro-budget of a rumored $40,000.

Inspired by actual events, “8 Days” revolves around 16-year-old Amber Stevens (Nicole Smolen). She goes missing after sneaking to a party with her friends. Amber is forced into the sickening world of sex trafficking. The young girl’s family and community fight to get her back.

Much of the camerawork in “8 Days” is handheld and with good reason. It makes the audience feel as if you’re present in every situation that plays out onscreen. The experience seems all the more real as it unfolds before you.

Although “8 Days” is centered on one girl, it does a good job giving viewers a bird’s eye view of the entire age range and sexual orientation that are the prime targets for traffickers. Statistics show that ages 12 to 15 are the main danger zone and boys are becoming more and more sought after. There’s nothing as impacting as seeing children the ages of our own sons and daughters locked up in cages to be shipped off to do the unthinkable.

I didn’t find “8 Days” to be as graphic as I thought it was going to be. Obviously there’s frightening and intense scenes mixed with some violence. Sex and nudity isn’t present, but the aftermath and consequences of rape and molestation are presented for all to see. The prostitutes mask their pain and suffering by using drugs and alcohol most of the movie. Profanity is used throughout as well.

“8 Days” is the sort of film everyone needs to see. The director made a profound statement at the Dallas premiere. He stated that most people won’t discuss or expose their children to the reality of sex trafficking in their own backyards.

Many feel it’s a taboo subject or their children are too young to know about the terrifying predators that are scouting out schools, shopping malls, and grocery stores in search of another victim. If they aren’t exposed to it by their parents and friends, many could end up experiencing the very perversions we never revealed to them. We can talk about it now with them or they might suffer the consequences of their parents keeping them oblivious to the facts.

For more information on "8 Days," you can visit their website here.