Netflix has been accused of glamorizing sex trafficking after commissioning an Italian drama based on the Baby Squillo teen prostitution scandal. The U.S.-based National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) called for eight-part drama Baby to be axed ahead of its launch.
The SVOD service ordered the series, which is produced by Italian firm Fabula Pictures, in November. It explores the lives of high school teenagers in Rome and is loosely inspired by a true story, the Baby Squillo scandal, which saw the husband of Mussolini’s granddaughter caught up in a teen prostitution racket in the Parioli district. Mauro Floriani (pictured), the husband of Alessandra Mussolini, was accused of being one of 20 clients of teenage schoolgirls who were selling themselves for sex.
However, in a letter to Netflix, NCOSE Vice President Lisa Thompson accused the broadcaster of normalizing child abuse and said there were double standards after dumping Kevin Spacey from House of Cards following sexual assault allegations.
“Netflix recently fired Kevin Spacey… To turn around and produce a show that glorifies the sex trafficking of minors and dub it ‘edgy entertainment’ is the height of hypocrisy,” she said. “There are no ‘baby prostitutes’ – only sexually abused, exploited and raped children.”
“If Netflix executives care more about ending sexual exploitation in this #MeToo moment than about profiting from sexually exploitive themes, they will cancel production of this show immediately,” Thompson added.
The letter was sent to Netflix on Thursday, which was National Human Trafficking Awareness Day and was co-signed by over 50 campaigners, social-service providers and survivors of sex trafficking.