Dark Highway: The Shadows of Trafficking

Dark Highway is one of the most terrifying films in recent memory.

No, there’s no jump scares or demonic possessions. What makes Dark Highway so terrifying is that it exposes true evil. The type that really lurks in the shadows of our world, living in the shadows and staying out of sight.

Directed by Anna Jane Edmonds, the new documentary Dark Highway delves deeply into the invisible crime of sex trafficking in Ontario. Edmonds brings the viewer along the 401 Highway to hear the stories of survivors, advocates and those committed to being part of the solution. By sharing their horrifying stories of exploitation, Dark Highway sheds light on the realities of trafficking that the average person denies, holding the criminal justice system on trial in the process.

By allowing the victims to share their stories, Edmonds gives them back the power that was taken from them by their attackers. With unflinching honesty, Highway never shies away from the damage that has been left behind by their actions. Every story leaves a mark on the viewer’s soul. Its honesty about the realities of human trafficking opens the viewer’s eyes to the terrifying realities that exist all around us. Conversations about how today’s youth are groomed and exploited shatter our realities, inviting the viewer to rethinking the places that their children feel safest. As someone who lives in Ontario, Highway

In short, Highway isn’t the type of film that lets the audience sit comfortably.

What’s more, Highway also holds the justice system accountable for lax judgments of the perpetrators. Edmonds looks at the ways the justice system delays trials and uses that as ‘time served’. We compare verdicts and are left to judge whether or not their sentences are ‘fair’. But, most tragically, we bear witness to the expressions on the victims’ faces. Without ever becoming exploitative, victims are invited to share their fears about the whereabouts of their attackers. 

For some, they remain scared to walk the streets. For others, they fear for their lives. 

In this way, Dark Highway quickly becomes a call to action. Rather than abandon the viewer in a sea of hopelessness, Edmonds’ film invites the audience to help take up the fight. Lost Highway is a film of conviction and power that demands a response. As Edmonds pulls back the curtain on the evils that lurk within our own blindness, one cannot help but feel compelled to help others find the light.

To hear our conversation with director Anna Jane Edmonds, click here.

Dark Highway is playing at the Oakville Film Festival on Saturday, May 22nd, 2024. 

Leave a Reply