I Am ALL GIRLS is a powerful drama about sex trafficking of young girls. It’s set in South Africa. It features the cops who are trying to stop the heads of the ring of traffickers.
I Am ALL GIRLS explores everything about the child sex trafficking business, from kidnapping to shipment. To this day, between 500,000 and 700,000 girls and women are enslaved and sold worldwide yearly in this disgusting criminal business.
The film opens with a raid lead by a detective named Jodie (Erica Wessels). It’s a big operation, but it’s too late. All the girls are gone. When it’s over, Ntombi (Hlubi Mboya) drives up in a forensics van, but there’s little left behind but fingerprints.
Back at the station, Jodie’s boss, Captain George Mululeki (Mothusi Magano), tells Jodie that the funding for her task force for is ending because they aren’t getting results. She’s reassigned to a murder case.
Jodie is very upset by this. She’s dedicated everything to bringing down this ring. Her apartment is a jumbled mess of case files and little else. She keeps working on it anyway, but she does things all wrong. She tries to search things she has no search warrant for, and pulls other stunts getting herself in trouble.
Ntombi offers Jodie comfort and support. If they aren’t already a couple, they’re well on their way. Ntombi’s apartment is sleek and stylish – absolutely gorgeous in comparison to Jodie’s.
The murder Jodie investigates is of a man with letters carved in his chest. They turn out to be initials of a missing child from a case from several years back. So his murder is related to her trafficking case.
Then more dead men with initials carved into their chests appear. Someone is killing the leaders of the trafficking ring vigilante style. The viewers learn who the killer is before Jodie does, so I’ll keep that info spoiler free.
There’s so much depth in this film. It’s a heavy topic and it’s treated with respect. I appreciate the decision by director Donovan Marsh not to show the videos and images of child abuse the police watched.
As Jodie works through the murder cases she gets closer and closer to understanding how the girls are moved to other countries. She’s also in more and more danger, as are her boss George and her girlfriend/coworker Ntombi. The people making money from this business are highly placed South Africans who don’t want the police figuring it out. Like so many men in power, the lives of girls don’t matter to them except as a commodity.
The film was filled with tension and drama. There were lots of flashbacks explaining motivations of some of the characters. The music was low and pulsing and often sounded like girls crying or breathing in panic. The music really added to the atmosphere and effect on the emotions for the viewers.
Erica Wessels and Hlubi Mboya were both outstanding. Both have extensive credits on IMDb, and impressive experience, but I don’t think either are known well in the U.S.
I Am ALL GIRLS is on Netflix. If Netflix has to go to South Africa to find meaningful content to add in with all the fluff it’s been pushing lately, then let’s see more South African drama. The trailer is on YouTube.