Very Young Girls Movie Review: Sex, Class and Ho Daddies
If you're a guy who's sampled young street hookers or porn and thinks those girls are having a barrel of fun or love their job, think again. Unless it's a turn-on to face the grim reality, that your partner-for-hire is one of the seventy to eighty percent of abused children who end up in the sex industry, and that the average age of prostitutes is thirteen.
Just as shocking and terribly sad, as brought to light in the devastating documentary, Very Young Girls, is that while enormous alarm has been raised about Western males jetting off to indulge in the bustling global kiddie sex tourism industry in faraway places like Thailand and Brazil, similar activity just around the corner here at home hardly raises an eyebrow. On the contrary, the documentary's scathing inquiry reveals just how class bias operates when it comes to sexual exploitation of children.
For while teachers who engage in sex with their students in middle class suburban neighborhoods make the headlines and are carted off to jail, in the case of inner city poor underage females of color, they're the ones who get taken away in handcuffs. And the johns who have just essentially raped a minor, walk free. And when one desperate ghetto mother in the film who's been searching for her missing young teen daughter, pleads with her local NYC precinct after a phone tip to rescue the girl from a pimp who has kidnapped her and is holding her at gunpoint in his apartment, she's unbelievably informed that's not their job, and to quit annoying them.
Central to this heartbreaker of an expose, are two parallel probing threads by filmmakers Ninia Alvarez, David Schisgall and Priya Swaminathan, one despicable and the other a profoundly altruistic inspiration. Two South Bronx thirtysomething brothers, Anthony and Chris Griffith, cruise along in their pimpmobile, opining about perfecting the art of the ho daddy, while mentally and physically abusing assorted underage girls they've recruited and brainwashed into compliant street hookers. This depraved guided tour via videocam, is apparently intended as an audition for the media, that they hope morphs into their very own future reality show.
At the same time, former child prostitute Rachel Lloyd is seen successfully fighting a one woman battle against this epidemic numbering in the hundreds of thousands, which victimizes impressionable and vulnerable ghetto girls whose fate is met with indifference by both the community and government. With just thirty dollars in her pocket and her own apartment to rescue and house these young sexually abused and exploited teens, Lloyd has built a thriving NYC residential service with legal and job training components, known as GEMS.
And though there is much more that would have been of interest to learn, including Lloyd's own personal story along with the role of drugs in the complicated mix of these rescue operations, the testimony of these shattered but mostly mending lives in the documentary is immensely disturbing and not easily forgotten. The grave situations these girls of such tender years face, an enormous burden far beyond their years, touches on rapes, beatings, and flight from fractured families in an overwhelmingly needy hunger simply for love, and the devious pedophile sexual predator pimps providing that appearance of emotional security, for a terrible price.
Not all of Rachel Lloyd's determined rescue missions are success stories, hard as she has tried to provide the sense of family, belonging and acceptance that is at the heart of what these damaged children crave. Rachel catches a flight to Miami to bring back one emotionally battered girl crying for help who agrees to return, but then flees again. And another lies in a hospital bed with her face smashed in after being left unconscious on a road by her pimp. Very Young Girls does conclude with a happy ending though, of a wedding and one crying mom. But this time she's weeping with tears of joy, instead of a mom's terror for her child.
Swinging T Productions
Prairie Miller is a multimedia journalist online, in print and on radio. Contact her through NewsBlaze.
Related Movie Reviews News