Kevin Kline was at the United Nations to promote a film on human trafficking that officials hope will raise awareness about the alarming and largely unknown problem.
“Trade,” based on a 2004 magazine article, follows the abduction of a young Eastern European woman and a 13-year-old Mexican girl who are roped into an international sex ring. Kline plays a Texas policeman who teams up with the girl’s brother to track down her abductors.
He told reporters Wednesday the movie gives viewers an idea of how trafficking networks operate “not only behind the scenes but ... in plain sight in these residential neighborhoods.”
“All around the world it’s happening and people see it but they’re not aware of it,” the 59-year-old actor said. “The movie is gut-wrenching and alarming and disturbing, as it is meant to be.”
The U.S. State Department, which releases an annual report on trafficking, estimates 1.1 million people are smuggled across borders each year, the vast majority of them women and children.
Global profits from trafficking victims around the world are as high as $32 billion per year, according to U.N. figures.
Antonio Maria Costa, head of the Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, said he hoped “Trade” would “create worldwide awareness so that people, governments, business leaders and religious leaders are motivated to join forces in dealing with this crime.”
“Obviously there is no better way of building public awareness than using the most popular media around the world,” Costa said.
“Trade,” the debut American feature from young German director Marco Kreuzpaintner, opens in theaters Sept. 28.