Human Trafficking and a Mother’s Love in ‘Sleep Well, My Baby’

Sleep Well, My Baby a narrative short film written and directed by Aaron & Winston Tao, depicts the true story behind one woman’s experience fleeing North Korea, only to get caught up in horrifying tragedies of human trafficking. Through the emotional and physical abuse the woman endures, her only solace being her young daughter, Hee-young. When threats come to separate the two her ability to sustain the abuse finally breaks.

The powerful true story will capture your attention in moments as the narrator beings her tale. The decision to have the narrator speak directing to the audience instead of having us just watching her actions from the outside, allows the audience to really understand and feel the emotions happening to the narrator. Hearing her voice when she had been silenced by her owners, make the film significantly more enticing. While the film may have worked well without her narration, I think being able to her voice as she describes what is happened in her head makes the audience what to keep watching.

This film will touch your heart. Our protagonist, a woman who has just had a child reveals she had been bought and sold to multiple men. The second time she is sold she is separated from her baby but this cruelty is what finally makes her break. As she rides on a motorbike with her new owner her blue hat flies off her head. The same blue hat which she’d use to calm her baby down. The thought of losing this makes her finally act out and take a huge risk for her freedom.

One aspect of the film which provoked the most emotions with the audience is the way her first owner acts. As she cares for her daughter, Hee-young, most of her time is spent nursing or working in the fields. This leaves little time for her owner to get what he wants. He becomes so frustrated to the point of hating her that he decides to sell her. He doesn’t sell her for money or for a new woman but simply to separate her from the thing she loves most. We can see the cruelty and hatred in his eyes as he does it. When she is finally taken away in the back of her new owner’s truck, he comes out holding her baby as if to flaunt Hee-young in front of her face.

While this dramatic separation shows how inhumanely the women forced into human trafficking are treated, it also reveals the spite and hatred the owners participate in.

The use of this true story is to help stop human trafficking and educate people of the horrors those enslaved under it go through every day. Though this story is happening in China, it’s important to remember that human trafficking of all types happens in every part of the world, even if it goes by another name. Every person, whether man or woman should be able to choose what life they will lead, that is something that shouldn’t be decided by where you live of how much money you make.

Chani Sebazco

Chani is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she received a B.A in Writing and Theatre Arts. She is currently pursuing a career in Editing and Publishing, and is hoping to go back to school for her Master’s in Print Media. On her off days she enjoys bike riding, stalking doggos, and binge watching Grey’s Anatomy with a large bag of whole wheat Tostitos and habanero salsa. For more info follow her at @chanisebazco, and watch out for her brand new blog coming soon!

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