- “Each day the number of women and children kidnapped for human trafficking increases.”
- “In the United States alone 300,000 people are lost to human trafficking per year … 20 million throughout the entire world.”
- “Even children as young as three years old.”
- “The life expectancy [of victims] is four to seven years.”
- “The FBI says their rescue rate is one-half of one percent.”
- “It is absolutely crucial to educate parents.”
- “Recruitment happens at malls, on the street, bus stops. Social media is big, especially Instagram; it’s considered one of the worst.”
- “It’s happening in every neighborhood, it’s happening in every school, and it’s happening in every city.”
- “This isn’t a third-world problem… it’s not a gender problem or a socio-economic problem, it’s a human problem that we all share.”
- “Some of the warning signs are exhaustion … dark circles under their eyes … bruising … scars … inability to hold eye contact with someone … fidgety … more nervous in class. Oftentimes their grades will plummet, although there are cases where grades actually went up because they had one place where they could succeed.”
Reading the above quotes is jarring. There is no question that human trafficking is an important issue that needs to be addressed swiftly and thoroughly. However, according to DoSomething.org, “assessing the full scope of human trafficking is difficult because so many cases so often go undetected, something the United Nations refers to as ‘the hidden figure of crime.’”
The bulleted statements above weren’t taken from an article, website, pamphlet, public service announcement, press release, or book, but rather directly from the movie Run.
As a father of two very outgoing young boys, to say the movie, Run, didn’t strike a nerve with me would be a massive understatement. As the movie’s narrative unfolded and I got more drawn into Natalie (Taylor Murphy) and Levi’s (Josiah David Warren) story, as well as Emily’s (Chloe Flores) own tale, I couldn’t help but think about the importance of this issue. One that I need to discuss with my sons.
While Run may not be the appropriate vehicle to discuss human trafficking and the importance of being safe and alert with my boys, I commend it for bringing this topic to the forefront. Although my wife and I have had countless discussions with our sons about safety, making smart decisions, and “stranger danger,” it wouldn’t hurt to begin an open discussion with them about human trafficking and how to protect against it.
I would love to show them Run as it is both educational and impactful; however, because of the graphic nature of some of the scenes, I’ll wait until they’re a little older. In the meantime, I’ll just reiterate the great points the movie makes.
Run has two concurrent plots running parallel to each other until they come colliding together in a scene that will have you holding your breath and possibly shedding a tear or two.
The first plot line revolves around Natalie Winters and her fiancé Levi. Coincidentally, Natalie is a reporter for the local news station who primarily reports on human trafficking. On the night of their wedding, Natalie is abducted from their bedroom by two traffickers while her new husband goes down to his car to get a Band-Aid after she cuts herself on a champagne glass.
Natalie is drugged and placed in the back of a windowless white van. The next day, while still in transit to a faraway motel room where her abductors will await further instructions, Natalie wakes up from her drug-induced stupor and almost immediately begins to pray.
Throughout her captivity, Natalie continues to pray leading Mark (Michael Maponga), one of her kidnappers, to question her reliance on prayer.
Mark: Let me ask you something. Why do you always pray?
Natalie: Because God is in charge, not you.
Mark: Really? Even after everything you’ve been through, you still pray.
Natalie: Compared to what Jesus went through on the cross this is nothing. Jesus wants to save you.
At another point during her captivity in the motel room, Natalie offers the second abductor, Jim (Jason Lee Boyson), a chance to repent and be forgiven.
Jim: You can pray all you want, nothing’s going to happen.
Natalie: My God is more powerful than all of you. Soon he will bring everything to light and nothing will be hidden.
Jim: Do you really think I’m going to get caught?
Natalie: God will forgive all of your sins if you repent.
Jim: I have nothing to repent for. Nothing.
Natalie: You may be able to hurt my body, but you’ll never be able to touch my soul.
Jim: Watch me. Your soul belongs to me.
Natalie: My soul only belongs with God.
Meanwhile, Levi is frantically searching for his bride, posting and handing out flyers all over the city. One of the flyers ends up in the hands of Jeff Conners (Stephen Baldwin), who happens to be one of the human trafficking ring leaders. He wads up the piece of paper and sets it on fire.
Natalie and Levi, who are devout Christians, both recite variations of the same verse to get them through this tumultuous crisis:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. Nor shall the flame scorch you (Isaiah 43:2 NKJV).
The other plot line centers around Emily and her budding friendship with Ben (Joseph Rene), whom she just met online. Emily and Ben, who is considerably older than Emily, agree to meet at a local ice cream shop where he introduces her to his sister Sandy. Sandy (Marissa Hampton) invites Emily to a party at their house that afternoon.
After some convincing, Emily acquiesces and is subsequently drugged by Sandy, who is also a victim of human trafficking, en route to the “party.” Emily is eventually taken to the same motel room where Natalie is being held captive.
Will Levi, Emily’s parents, the police, or someone else uncover this web of deceit before Natalie, Emily, and others are sold as sex slaves bound for Cuba?
With fast-paced action that tugs at your heartstrings, Run is a movie that is not only entertaining, but also important. It opens the door to conversations that need to be had and an awareness we must all embrace.
And when all else fails, remember the words of Levi’s grandma, “God always hears our prayers. It doesn’t matter how big the problem is, just remember God is in charge.”
If you need help, call the Human Trafficking Hotline (toll-free): 1-888-373-7888
For more information go to Humantraffickinghotline.org
You can also find resources and help at TraffickFree.com.
Watch Run on Inspiration TV on Demand.
John Farrell is a Digital Content Writer / Editor of Inspiration.org.