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“Òlòturé” Movie Review: Harsh Realities of Nigeria’s Human Trafficking and Prostitution

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A Kenneth Gyang film, Òlòturé tells the story of (Sharon Ooja), a young and naive Nigerian journalist who goes undercover to expose the dangerous and brutal world of human trafficking. Unprepared of the harsh realities of prostitution and human trafficking, she finds herself caught in the web of  pimps, madames and shameless politicians.

The movie, Òlòturé set in Lagos is based on a true life story of Tobore Ovuorie  a senior investigative journalist with the Premium Times in Nigeria, who has won Wole Soyinka awards for her investigative exposes in 2012 and 2013. Tobore whom still suffers PTSD after the original investigation published research premium times where she shares her ordeal says “I almost lost my life in this undercover project, but I have no regrets”.

Òlòturé follows the life of Ehi the undercover journalist(Sharon ooja), Peju (Beverly Osu), Vanessa (Wofai Fada), Blessing (Kemi Lala Akindoju) and several young women trapped in a continuous circle of sex work on a streets of Lagos with hopes of a better life. Ehi eventually bonds with a group of prostitutes and becomes deeply involved in their daily life. Not relenting in her pursuit to tell her story and that of other prostitutes, she gets stuck between getting out or staying when she gets drugged and rapped by a big politician Sir Philips.

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Òlòturé shows hideous scenes of sexual violence like rape against women. Thinking that thing get better when you go tp Europe, the film showcases the gruesome acts done by the traffickers to instill fear on the young ladies to prevent them from running away. They are forced to sign contracts that take away their rights and “income” without reading first.

Things get real when Peju is killed for being in possession of a mobile phone which is prohibited. Her sister beauty manages to escape at the border while Ehi is knocked out cold in her attempt.

Aside the harsh realities surrounding prostitution, Òlòturé highlights the role of men in uniform in aiding and abetting these criminals activities.

While the movie had good intentions I found myself getting lost. At first I thought Ehi (played by Ooja) was actually a police officer not until the last minute it was revealed she was a journalist. Its an undercover work, but how do you go in there with just a pen and book like an author on holiday? no secret recorder or camera to capture evidence. Okay, how do you even go undercover without letting some trusted police officers know about it incase of trouble?

After watching the movie I was left with more questions than answers. Ehi “the undercover journalist” even lacks necessary skills to embark on her mission, she was just here and there then runnung back home to scribble on her little notebook. Was even more annoyed when she got captured cause that was so preventable – I believe as a investigative journalist at least you should have a little fighting skills. The Emeka came running after her, as a journalist how do you even run to a border without proper documentation!!

No disrespect, but I couldn’t understand how she didn’t expect one of those ugly ass politicians to make a move on her, sis it wasn’t a church program let alone a child dedication. You went on a job and you didnt expect that? I was absolutely heartbroken by the unprofessionalism of Ehi, her editor and the entire news organization – Surely real-life undercover journalist would cringe at the sight of the movie.

Even so, Peju (Beverly Osu), Vanessa (Wofai Fada), Blessing (Kemi Lala Akindoju) played their roles well. I fell in love with how Vanessa and Blessing made the film more realistic. How can you forget the display of Alero(Omoni Oboli) the sex trafficking ring leader – though you tend to get bored of the constant use of the word ‘puta’

Movie Grade: C

You could watch to see what goes on in the prostitution circle but as far as storytelling is concerned you’d probably end up going no where.

Where To Watch Òlòturé

Netflix

Cast

Sharon Ooja as Òlòturé
Beverly Osu as Peju
Ada Ameh as Titi
Omowumi Dada as Linda
Blossom Chukwujekwu as Emeka
Omoni Oboli as Alero
Segun Arinze as Theo
Adebukola Oladipupo as Beauty
Ikechukwu Onunaku as Chuks
Kemi Lala Akindoju as Blessing
Omawumi as Sandra
Sambasa Nzeribe as Victor
Daniel Etim Effiong as Tony
David Jones David as Sheriff
Emmanuel Ilemobajo as Simon
Eunice Omoregie as Linda’s mother
Gregory Ojefua as Sami
Patrick Doyle as Sir Phillip
Pearl Okorie as Peace
Wofai Fada as Vanessa
Yemi Solade as Jubril


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