Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Recurring Training

In the Air Force, there's a long list of recurring training items that we have to check off every year. The CSAF recently promised to get rid of much of it--I mean what's the likelihood that we'll forget from year to year that you shouldn't sell secrets to anyone or use your government computer (or any computer) to help the former Ethiopian finance minister get his $100K to the US for a nice 20% cut--but I haven't seen any of it go away yet. Among those computer-based training (CBT) modules is an annual lesson in why it's bad to trade people as a commodity, how to recognize the signs that it's happening, and what to do when you suspect it. It's called Trafficking in Humans.

Here's a suggestion: instead of blithely clicking the next button until the digital drudgery is over this year, why don't we all watch Eastern Promises instead. You can argue that this is a crime drama, a modern Godfather, or a suspense film. You could argue that it's simply a vehicle to display the fairly prodigious acting talents of Viggo Mortensen and others. But, at its core, the engine that drives this train is human trafficking. It's not so much a movie about that sad trade, in the way that, say, Blow, is about the cocaine trade; rather, Eastern Promises is a movie about that trade in the way that Reign Over Me is about 9/11. The flesh of either story has a life of its own, but beneath each, giving either film birth and form are the events without which the story couldn't exist. Each is about not the mechanics of that skeleton, but the costs. And those costs, if you can make them real, will do more to motivate all of us to see, prevent, and intervene than all the CBT reminders of international law and DoD regulations can hope to.

And one last thing: it's a damned good film to boot. I'd give it an A-.