A new Netflix drama about teen prostitution is being slammed by The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, which is accusing the streaming service of promoting sex trafficking.
The series, Baby, which begins streaming Friday (trailer below), is described as exploring “the unseen lives of Roman high schoolers. Loosely inspired by a true story, the series follows a group of Parioli teenagers as they defy society in their search for identity and independence against the backdrop of forbidden love, family pressures, and shared secrets.”
But the organization claims the eight-episode show “portrays a group of teenagers entering into prostitution as a glamorized ‘coming-of-age’ story” and notes that in the real-life scandal that Baby is based on, “the mother of one of the teenagers was arrested for sex trafficking.”
“Despite being at ground zero of the #MeToo movement, Netflix appears to have gone completely tone-deaf on the realities of sexual exploitation,” said Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Despite the outcry from survivors of sex trafficking, subject matter experts, and social service providers, Netflix promotes sex trafficking by insisting on streaming Baby. Clearly, Netflix is prioritizing profits over victims of abuse.”
Erik Barmack, VP of International Originals at Netflix, previously praised the series when it was first announced in January: “We are proud to continue to invest in original content in Italy, and Baby is representative of the new, edgy programming from talented producers that we cherish. We couldn’t be more excited to start work on this show.”
To which Hawkins now replies: “There is absolutely nothing ‘edgy’ about the sexual exploitation of minors. This show glamorizes sexual abuse and trivializes the experience of countless underage women and men who have suffered through sex trafficking.”
In January, the Center along with a group of “survivors of sex trafficking and/or subject matter experts” sent a letter to Netflix executives expressing their “deep concern” regarding the Italian drama.
Here is the Baby trailer:
Netflix had no immediate comment on the new criticism. When criticized by groups in the past who have called for the removal of programming for various reasons (such as the controversy over the so-called “fat-shaming” drama Insatiable), the service has generally stuck by its content creatives.