“Sky Rojo”: a series that portrays human trafficking and prostitution


The 30th of July is World Day against Human Trafficking, worth $150 billion annually

Inside the fiction

“It’s a hamster wheel, chicas. You can’t run away from the club because you’re in debt. You can never run away from the debt because you’re being threatened. And you can’t run away from the threats because you’ve got a family you love.” Gina (Yany Prado) tells her friends when they know her story and how she became a prostitute in a Club without knowing what was it.

“Sky Rojo” tells the story of three women: Coral (Verónica Sánchez), Wendy (Lali Espósito) and Gina in their quest to achieve freedom against a group of pimps: Romeo (Asier Etxeandia), Moisés (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) and Christian (Enric Auquer). Kidnapped and abused by them, they will turn the show into a tug of war between escapes and encounters with different members of the “Club Las Novias” (The Girlfriends Club in English).

Sky Rojo shows a group of women who become friends after all the atrocities they suffer

It is the kind of series that presents complex and dense subjects in an attractive perspective to see. Not many young people will probably spend their free time watching a Netflix marathon if it talks about human trafficking in all its glory. Yet, that is the magic of “Sky Rojo”, which manages to capture a real problem within an entertainment series that is a leader in several Spanish-speaking countries.

The series has a lot of constant action, using episodes of just 25 minutes that fly by. It is perhaps the series that best suits Netflix’s commitment to mixing action and controversial topics. In the first point, “Sky Rojo” could have been a superficial pastime, the kind of show that hook you but that you forget almost the day after you saw it. But instead of that, Vancouver Media (Money Heist’s producer) decided to talk one more time about a tricky topic by making people like the main characters even if they are not politically correct.

Most of the criticism of the series is directed at its way of mixing violence with prostitution and human trafficking, but the reality is worse than fiction. The series shows a group of women who become friends after all the atrocities they suffer when they live in isolation. Each of them arrived there differently, but none of them is free to choose when they want to leave. It is the first thing they have in common, which helps them create the group they got. It is a series that has been able to bring a lot of information about this reality to young people. Violence cannot be omitted because it is part of the reality they live.

Sky Rojo portrays human trafficking through the characters

Mixing entertainment with the most visceral reality and aesthetics with controversial issues is how they have managed a way to put specific topics on the table without losing the closeness of the young audience. The complex scenes are challenging to understand as mere entertainment, which makes you know that those situations are not just fiction. 

World Day Against Human Trafficking

The 30th of July is World Day Against Human trafficking. This way of trafficking involves force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some labour or commercial sex act. They use force and coercion to introduce their victims into labour or sexual exploitation. Involuntary servitude is the most critical sector of trafficking in the world.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union is one of the main factors in increasing human trafficking in Europe. It provided new regional opportunities and human capital to fuel the expansion. Another factor that contributes to the increase of human trafficking was the militarization and war in the Balkans. But outside Balkan nations, the legalization of prostitution is the main factor that increased human trafficking, with the Netherlands being identified as the leading destination of the victims.

While many factors limit most NGOs trying to fight against human trafficking, they still play an important supporting role for the victims. Most NGOs from the 90s struggled to hold their ground against increasingly predatory traffickers. Even if their success varies from country to country, NGOs stand out for having and taking the initiative where governments have failed. Most people are more likely to trust NGOs than governments because they are scared of deportation, being forced to testify, or retaliation by their traffickers also contribute to their reluctance to approach statutory agencies for support.

The global sex trade is one of the fastest-growing forms of economic increase, and it is worth $150 billion annually. What makes this business different is that women and girls sold into sex trafficking earn profits over the years, unlike the drugs and narcotics that are sold and used once. Therefore, human trafficking is the fastest-growing organized crime.

Credits: Pili Cortés

As the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says, every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, as countries of origin, transit or destination, but trafficking often occurs from “less developed countries” to the “more developed countries”. As they also shared, Europe is the destination for victims from the most comprehensive range of goals, while victims from Asia are trafficked to the broadest range of destinations.

A disproportionate number of women are involved in human trafficking. Although victims of sex trafficking can be of any age and sex, most of them are women and adolescent girls. And even if many nations have outlawed the trafficking of females, it is still widely prevalent on a global scale.

Still, victims travel because they are offered a promised good job, free education, or citizenship in a more prosperous foreign country. In addition, many victims are sold into the sex trade by their parents and husbands. Consequently, the most common tactic of coercion used against the victims is debt bondage. The victim has to pledge personal services to repay fake debts, such as transportation into foreign countries or living expenses.

Credits: Pili Cortés

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