Oscar nominee Matthew Heineman directs a four-part docu-series about the horrific atrocities experienced by Central Americans who travel north in search of a better life in THE TRADE. Heineman's focus is a character-driven expose on the vicious cycle migrant workers experience trying to escape atrocities from their own country to be confronted with different dangers than what they left as they journey toward safety.
The road much-traveled of those Central Americans seeking a better or safer life is not only long and winding but treacherous. Many never live to see their “land of glory.” Heineman's emotional episodic narrative allows the audience to understand the reasons they choose to flee as the longing for safety is a plight worth the risk.
Heineman's slow moving raw film footage journeys with the migrant workers and their families seeking a peaceful haven and refuge from brutality. Heartbreaking is to observe that they must ward off the entanglements of human trafficking, illegal smugglers, and dangerous transportation routes. The grueling cycle for some is to reach their destination only to be turned away from the U.S. borders and deported back to the dangers and corruption from whence they fled--only to try the route again with more tenacity.
Heineman documents, "I was given unprecedented access to film a dangerous journey for all involved including myself and my incognito skeleton crew, not to mention for the various migrants showcased in the footage." He notes that the dangers while filming were everywhere especially within the gang-ridden slums of Honduras, stash houses of Mexico and the riverbeds of the Texas border. Heineman notes, "THE TRADE is the dark side of the American Dream.