#Film Review: Netflix’s I am Jane Doe (2017)

Director: Mary Mazzio

Rating: 5/5

This film has also been on Netflix for a while, but I watched it now. A must watch for everyone who opposes human trafficking (and I hope everyone does).

Unlikely for other similar films, this one does not just narrate stories of victims but also shows a legal battle that victims and their families are leading against the website that not only allows sex trafficking of young girls, but also advises pimps how to advertise without breaching rules they were forced to implement due to public backlash and criticism.

The film also shows how some corporations pervert justice and manipulate the US Constitution and existing laws. In this particular case, they insist on the law that guarantees that a website owner cannot be responsible for posts made by third parties. If this was the only thing, we could consider it as a moral issue and challenge the corporation by asking whether they could be more strict in their moderation to make sure no minor is advertising sex services.

However, this is not all because the same website also gives advices on how to avoid moderation restrictions and this point is what is leading the legal battle of victims and their families now. They won a small victory in the US Senate that ruled that the corporation must give information so that their wrongdoings can be assessed, and one court has ruled that the lawsuit may proceed. While these are small victories as opposed to majority of legal battles being won by the corporation, it is still a beginning.

The film also has a very good portrayal of brave victims who came out to speak publicly about horrors they’ve been through and disgusting behaviour of their peers that called them sluts once they survived the horror so they had to be home schooled. These brave Jane Doe girls are standing at the front of all other Jane Doe’s who are suffering or who suffered in the past, and hopefully something will be done for this nightmare to stop for every girl in the world.

The film also correctly tackled the issue on who sits in courts in these cases. In one particular case it was a bunch of older judges who simply did not understand the problem and thus had no problems with patronising the legal team. This issue revealed a painful truth of insufficient number of women and younger and progressive judges who still cannot obtain positions to rule on something like this while some members of the older generation prefer to keep things as they were. Without calling for age discrimination for we all hope to get old and still have all our rights, something simply has to be done and people who do not support equality policies must be pushed away from positions of power.

Finally, what needs to be praised here is the fact that this is a Netflix original and thus Netflix once again joined the plight for equality, effectively proving that not all corporations are bad. While there are many that are bad and that are perverting the justice as shown in this film too, it is important to have corporations that will do the right thing and say when something is wrong. I hope that many other corporations will join this plight and cease and desist corporations such as the website that helps pimps and destroys lives of young girls in the US and elsewhere in the world.

Thank you for reading.

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