Real Girls in Trouble


Human trafficking is a huge problem throughout the world, both in developing countries and in first-world nations. Thousands of women from former Soviet republics alone are taken from their homes every year, either coerced to leave their homes or forcibly abducted.

The Israeli short animated film “Catherine the Great“–in Hebrew, but with English subtitles–is an account of one such woman. Ykaterina grew up in Moldova. Her father was too ill to work, and her mother couldn’t make enough to provide for the family–so, when she was offered a job abroad, she took it. She was flown to Egypt, then smuggled across the border into Israel, where she was locked in an apartment with several other women. Almost immediately, she discovered the nature of her new job.

Told with fairy-tale motifs and childlike language, “Catherine” is as beautiful as it is horrifying. While there’s no explicit nudity or harsh language, the film does have mature themes, obviously. The fascinating animation will make you want to start watching–but the awful truth of Ykaterina’s story will haunt you long after it’s finished playing.

Recommended from JTA