Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Liberties Taken, Freedom Forfeit
Human traffickers should be no given no quarter in the eyes of the law
In some of the darkest corners of the world a secret underground economy trades in human misery on a nearly unimaginable scope.
Human trafficking is a grisly practice in which women -- normally very young women -- are kidnapped, intentionally addicted to drugs then forced into prostitution.
If Taken accomplishes anything as a film, it will make the viewer positively hate human traffickers. The viewer may even excuse themselves for wishing the villains were killed a little more slowly and much more painfully.
Liam Neeson stars as Bryan Mills, a former CIA operative quietly retiring so he can spend time with his 17-year-old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). When Kim wants to go to Paris with her older friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy) Bryan has his reservations. Eventually at the urging of his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) Bryan relents and allows her to go.
Kim isn't in Paris for more than a few hours when she's kidnapped. Upon conferring with some friends from his days as a spy Bryan quickly concludes that Kim has been taken by human trafficking. He has 94 hours to get her back before she'll never be seen again.
Slowly but methodically Bryan violently dismantles the human trafficking ring that has kidnapped his daughter. No lives are spared, save that of Bryan's French intelligence acquaintance-turned-criminal-conspirator -- and even then only as a small courtesy.
Taken is an unflinching -- even if faintly gleaming with typical Hollywood polish -- look at the world of human trafficking.
The film reminds the viewers of the threat posed by human predators with no sense of morality. Countless lives are corrupted, destroyed and ultimately ended by these individuals in the name of petty monetary profit.
In Canada, Conservative MP Joy Smith is pushing to institute mandatory minimum sentencing for human trafficking.
However, in proposing a five-year mandatory minimum sentence of a mere five years in prison falls far short of the penalty this heinous crime should entail.
Considering the scope of the human misery caused by human trafficking, even if the current maximum sentence in Canada -- 14 years -- were the mandatory minimum proposed by Smith it would fall far short an appropriate punishment.
The mandatory minimum sentence for human trafficking should be life in prison. The maximum should be the death penalty -- a punishment that Canada hasn't practiced since the 1960s.
In lieu of the legislative tools to suitably end the lives of anyone caught engaging in human trafficking in Canada, Canadian courts should be provided the tools to do with such individuals as is fit: locking them away for the remainder of the lives they have forfeit by so horrifically taking liberties with the lives of others.