By Emily Merrell | USA
Survivors of sex trafficking urged Netflix to can a new show called “Baby” – influenced by an Italian teen sex scandal, which is causing Netflix to be accused of normalizing child abuse. In a letter to the executives, they pointed out the double standards of Netflix normalizing sexual exploitation after Kevin Spacey starred show “House of Cards” was dropped after his sexual misconduct charges.
“Netflix recently fired Kevin Spacey … To turn around and produce a show that glorifies the sex trafficking of minors and dub it ‘edgy entertainment’ is the height of hypocrisy …” said Lisa Thompson, vice president of the U.S.-based National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE).
“Baby” goes into production this year. It is inspired by a scandal in Rome where teenage students from the city’s wealthy Parioli district were said to have sold sex to buy designer clothes and mobile phones. It involves the exploitation of 14-15 year-olds for underage prostitution. “The Baby Squillo Scandal” – The letter said eight traffickers were arrested and the leader was in jail for ten years.
Netflix did not respond to the comments, but admitted that the show was inspired off of the Baby Squillo Scandal describing it as a “Coming of age story for teenagers”. This letter was sent to Netflix executives on Thursday – National Human Trafficking Awareness Day – and was signed by 56 campaigners, social-service providers and survivors of sex trafficking, including some who were exploited as teenagers. They stated that there are no teenage prostitutes, only sexually abused and exploited children.
The NCOSE also launched an online petition for the show to be eliminated, stating any minor engaging in commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking. “If Netflix executives care more about ending sexual exploitation in this #MeToo moment than about profiting from sexually exploitive themes, they will cancel production of this show immediately,”
Teens have always had heavy sexuality and only in recent times has it been extremely publicized. Sex trafficking, pedophilia, and prostitution are hugely debated topics, especially within this post-Lolita and Hollywood sexual harassment times. Will Netflix ax this show? If they don’t want even more extreme backlash, yes.