The Wrong Light
A documentary covering arguably the worst offenses committed against a human being by another — the exploitation of children as sex slaves — “The Wrong Light” is a riveting look at the betrayal of the innocent, and the deception involved in the whole operation.
Filmmakers Dave Adams and Josie Swantek sought out to bring into the light the plight of many children in Thailand, and the efforts of those committed to rescuing them from a life of sex slavery.
The film is filtered through activist Mickey Choothesa, the head of a group known as the Children’s Organization of Southeast Asia (COSA), which aids and rescues children who have been abducted and trafficked as sex slaves. A former war photographer, Choothesa said he was more horrified to hear about young girls who had been abducted from families and sold into slavery than he was capturing the images of combat.
He describes girls being torn from their homes savagely, abused and raped by adults. “The Wrong Light” strikes hard and often at the heartstrings, particularly early on, telling this horrific tale and speaking with the young girls themselves. Sometimes, their families become involved.
However, as the film progresses, an injustice of perhaps even a greater degree surfaces, and we find out that there are others who aim to exploit these and other children, flipping the film — and Adams’ and Swantek’s worlds — upside down. That revelation is a terrifying indictment of many of us, not only those whose actions are uncovered but of the “clicktivist” movement that seeks to generate rage but do little to solve the problem.
“The Wrong Light” is more than your typical social-justice documentary. It examines the motives behind not only those who exploit children as sex slaves but looks into the motives of their liberators and society in general. The film raises questions whose answers sometimes say damning things about humanity. It’s a grand film, one that goes far beyond the usual idea of good guys versus bad guys, and paints the world in shades of gray that sometimes darken into black.
It is one of the best documentaries I’ve seen this year. If you see one film at Heartland Film Festival this year, make it “The Wrong Light.”