Netflix Film Review: JOY — Human Rights Pulse
this piece will look at the joy of netflix movies. the film aims to unravel the realities of sex trafficking and prostitution networks in which migrants and refugees find themselves trapped. the film is relevant to understanding the complexities of human trafficking and the underlying trauma victims suffer from wanting a better livelihood for themselves.
the movie joy is an austrian social drama released in 2018. it was directed and filmed by sudabeh mortezai and starred anwulika alphonsus who plays the role of joy, a young nigerian woman sold for sex trafficking to pay the debts that support her distant family.
In the first scene, Joy is asked to help a newcomer settle in, a young Nigerian woman named Precious who has just entered the prostitution industry. At first, her precious resists her training to be sold and she refuses to provide sexual services to strange men as she joyfully wanders the cold streets. Eventually, when the madame realizes that Precious’s financial contribution for the day was minimal due to her reluctance to involve her clients, the madame’s hired thugs proceed to take Precious to an isolated room and repeatedly rape her as method of punishment and a way of instilling obedience. . this particular scene is triggering and disturbing. precious is heard crying and struggling in the room, while madame waits outside with the other girls who stand helplessly and with facial expressions betraying that precious’s experience is one they, too, may have previously been subjected to.
joy has a young daughter and her eagerness to pay off her wife’s debt and escape the sex trafficking industry to take care of her family and live a normal life overwhelms her. She tries to help please the madame and rules her, assuring the still reluctant young woman that while she may not want to sleep with her male clients, all she needs to worry about is getting the money to pay off her debts. . At the end of the film, we see that Joy finally pays off her debt, but despite trying to get Madame arrested for her criminal involvement in human trafficking, she is not granted a visa to stay in the country. Meanwhile, Preciosa was sold to a new employer who trafficked her to another European country for further exploitation.
The film heavily highlights the horrors of the sex trafficking industry, where sex work is not an option. the title of the film ironically suggests the opposite of the reality experienced by the victims. the film exposes audiences to the emotionally poignant and often triggering realities that victims of human trafficking go through, especially when trafficked to a foreign country. the psychological trauma endured by the women in the film was evident, taking as an example the reluctance of precious who was raped into submission.
the film had strengths and weaknesses. the strongest aspects of the film illustrate what victims face when they are trafficked for the first time. The idea that once one is trafficked, her body no longer belongs to her but to the perpetrator, who perceives the victim as an object simply to be used, marks this $99 billion dollar industry. on the other hand, the film was weak in not highlighting the long-term effects of the trauma these women went through.
Overall, Joy is well worth a watch, because it is an essential film that aims to educate the public about the sex trafficking industry. the story that unfolds in the film is not unique, but rather a story that many victims of trafficking can relate to closely, and sadly it is a story that many are deprived of telling. For modern slavery to be effectively abolished, we need to assess how storytelling can contribute to building effective and proactive anti-trafficking campaigns.