MOVIE REVIEW | 'TRICKED '
Young, Naïve and Selling Sex
‘Tricked,’ a Documentary About Human Trafficking
JK Wasson/Kino Lorber
By JEANNETTE CATSOULIS
Published: December 12, 2013
At the beginning of “Tricked,” Jane Wells and John-Keith Wasson’s exposé of human trafficking in North America, the despicably smooth-talking Robert Money explains that all women are either prostitutes or whores. A preening pimp, he should know: His sordid taxonomy is the foundation of his entire business plan.
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Mr. Money and his bragging colleagues are all over “Tricked,” a documentary that presents the sexual exploitation of young women as a systemic cancer that feeds on public misconception as much as male appetites. Those appetites are adequately represented in the form of brazen johns who deliver smug justifications for paid sex (“I don’t need to be charming”) and praise recessionary prices. Between these two groups are the women being bartered: many of them uneducated, unformed and unprepared for the consequences of posting provocative selfies on the Internet.
The soft-spoken Rain, recruited when she was 11, says she called her pimp Daddy Daycare because there were only minors in his stable. Other victims reveal just how seductive men like Mr. Money are to young women seeking affection and protection. (“Boyfriending in” is a common first step; the beatings come later.) Psychological manipulation is the pimp’s primary weapon, and the best not only have the gift of the gab but also an eye for the vulnerable.
Frustrated law-enforcement officials disclose how pimps flourish when the sole witnesses against them are prostitutes with poor “jury appeal.” Such witnesses, however, are the heartbreaking core of a film that tenderly details their experiences but leaves topics like poverty, lack of parental oversight, childhood damage and low self-esteem off the table — more than enough for a sequel.