Very Young Girls

"...These girls should be worrying about whether or not they're going to be able to get the next Justin Bieber album and instead they're worried about getting their asses kicked by pimps and getting arrested. The johns rarely serve jail time and when informed that the girl they were with was underage, they don't care. The girls in the doc were primarily POC as were their pimps. The johns they showed were adult white males for the most part. These girls are afraid to ask for help because of the social stigma of prostitution and because they are underage, they cannot go to a halfway house or safe house. The law turns them over to their parents who are ineffectual against keeping pimps away from their daughters. Pimps use weeks of psychological and physical torture to ensure total compliance from these girls. They are so brainwashed that even if they escape from the life, they often go back because it is the only structure and familiarity they know. It is a horrible, horrible ordeal and the justice system is no help at all. One girl was kidnapped from a subway station, taken to a motel room where she was forced to have sexual relations with an obscene amount of men and she herself was no older than 12 or 13. She got picked up by the police and her terrified mother was notified that she was in police custody. The judge at her hearing acted as though she was being lenient and even had the audacity to call probation a 'Mother's Day' gift. If the little girl had been white with blonde hair and blue eyes, the entire nation would know of her ordeal. If pimps had not charged money to rape this little girl, she would be called a 'survivor' not a perpetrator.

"Long story short, I want more people to know and be outraged by this."

~ Tory Fuller
You wish it...I dish it.

My sister Tory (not the lil one; the redheaded one) sent me this.  If you haven't seen the documentary "Very Young Girls" I recommend you do so ASAP.  I know some of you are already hip to this but I'm new to the game.  Either way, you can get it from Netflix or even watch it instantly there.

Don't barf, don't barf, don't barf.  When I first started watching the documentary, listening to the tender ages of these girls, watching the heartlessness of the pimps, the utter uselessness of cops, the crude callousness of the johns as they were being "rehabilitated", and the ineffectiveness of the parents, I had to keep telling myself not to barf.  When I approached the middle of the documentary, seeing the girls talk amongst themselves in their support group, I had to tell myself not to cry.

Easy Prey

It takes no genius to figure out why these girls are chosen.  Most of them are of color, and we all know how highly POC are valued in America.  They're all poor, and heaven knows this society is classist as hell.  They're aged 12-13, entering puberty, their self-esteem is extremely fragile, and they're plagued with childhood ignorance.  In short, they're easy prey.  And as Tory notes above, their age causes "complications" in the social work system, so it's difficult for them to find help.

"You Need a Daddy in Yo' Life"

This seems to be one of the recurring themes of the documentary.  I noticed the absence of father figures; I heard the eagerness in the girls' voice when they talked about the "possibilities" of having a lover, provider, teacher, and father figure all rolled into one.  They are lulled in by the notion of family, of being part of a unit.  Tack on the dependency and impaired judgment which comes with substance abuse, and bondage is complete.

Hard Out Here for a Pimp?

One of the best scenes in the documentary is when Rachel Lloyd, founder of GEMS, calls out the Academy for awarding "Best Song" to Three 6 Mafia's "Hard Out Here for a Pimp", while neglecting to think about how hard it is for a 13-year-old getting beaten and raped daily.  She points out that we talk about human trafficking in the Philippines and Thailand, but when its happening two blocks down, "we look the other way."  Why do we look the other way?  Because they're mostly American POC?  Because they're on home soil and thus expendable?  Conchita Sarnoff writes:
"...if you believe that only Latin, Russian, Balinese, Haitian or Eastern European children are being sold for sex outside of America take a long close look at the latest Congressional figures given to me today: 'Over 100,000 children in the United States are currently exploited through commercial sex. Although it is hard to believe, the average age of first exploitation is 12-13. We can no longer ignore that American children in our country are being so horrifically exploited for economic gain.'

"...If we want to abolish child slavery in the 21st Century our world view must change once again. Congress must shift gears like it did in 1861. For two thousand years or so we have used visible realities to remind us of invisible ones. So I say, let's create a visible reality that can sharpen that distinction; the distinction between an active and inactive Judiciary and one that will allow Congress to create more stringent legislation against child traffickers.

"As Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Rep. Chris Smith judiciously assert in their letter: 'In order to reduce child trafficking we must all care for the victims, ensure adequate resources for law enforcement and prosecutors... put pimps behind bars, strengthen deterrence and prevention programs aimed at buyers, and require timely and accurate reporting of missing children.' Amen to that."
Race & Gender War

Grown black and white men buying and selling little girls, most of them of color.  Male prosecuting attorney trying to throw these exploited, manipulated, underaged girls in jail while letting pedophilic johns walk free after "taking a class" for six months.  Are we serious?  What stood between one girl and jail, I noticed (and was very proud to see), was the army of women standing around her...black and white female attorneys and counselors from GEMS trying to make damn sure she didn't end up behind bars.  The judge may have thought she was being "lenient" and giving a "gift", but Tory's right: that wasn't a present.  That girl shouldn't have been in court in the first place; it's not where she belonged.  Law enforcement and the legal system have already shown their utter worthlessness in this matter, so much that people like Lloyd - an ex-child prostitute herself - have to do most of the heavy lifting (she started out GEMS with a borrowed computer, $30 in her pocket, and housing girls in her tiny apartment).

Collective Sociopathology

It's no surprise this problem goes neglected in America.  We don't value females and POC very highly here.  One reviewer on Netflix wrote, "I didnt like this. Just people being black. I feel bad for the girls, but this is a country where everyone has a chance."  Another wrote, "This isnt even worth one star. I couldnt even finish watching it because hearing those girls talk was worse than hearing my babies cry. It was pathetic, and disappointing."  Yet another wrote, "BORING as h----. I feel bad for the girls because its obvious they no longer have a sense of reality bc of their pasts, but it is so boring to listen to in my humble opinion."  Many more reviewers ignored the message altogether and focused strictly on critiquing the filmmaking.

But when people say they hate America, these folks are always the first to wonder why.

Important Links

GEMS*
GEMS Facebook
Child Exploitation and Obscenity (CEOS)
Sexual Trafficking of American Indian Women

Comments

  1. Tory Fuller8/29/10, 5:52 PM

    To the soulless people commenting on Netflix: step outside your Landrover driving, Tim Horton coffee drinking, Target shopping reality and take some responsibility for what is going on in your own country!~ Tory

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  2. Sonic (aka Tahiti)8/29/10, 6:50 PM

    "We don't value females and POC very highly here." I'd go so far as to say that for a country which prides itself on opportunity and etc., America HATES women and POCs. The rape culture, the blatant racism, it's very obvious that we are not worth as much as a white person or as much as a male. It's depressing as fuck to think about.

    I can't watch these kinds of documentaries - they make me want to go kill someone and they make me hate people and fuck it if I don't already hate people enough. These GIRLS are so young and so precious and they were fed to wolves because they were born POCs with a vagina. Do you hear that, you shit-for-brains Judge? They are GIRLS, still CHILDREN, who had no choice, not some privileged woman who decided to become a prostitute that you can condescend to. Fucking christ.

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  3. It seems like every patriarchal society needs a class of expendable women just like a capitalist society needs a large pool of expendable workers. But patriarchy seems to need a class/group of women to whom it's okay to do anything. In America, that is poor women and girls of color.

    Here, we have the slavery-old assertion that Black girls are automatical sluts because Black "females" are animalistic sex-toilets. It's the same mechanism that automatically ages all black children to the point we can deny Black children are ever abused. Look at how Black boys preyed on by grown women are treated vs. White boys. We try to make Black children as "grown" as possible as early as possible in order to deny anything BAD is happening to them. Meanwhile young White people are treated and named as children in new reports in order to garner more sympathy for them as victims.

    That judge did not see a child. She saw a little nigger whore whom she believed was just oversexed and rotten like ALL her "species." And the story of the girl trying to leave her pimp, but she kept going back. We have sympathy for battered women who find it difficult to leave their batterers, as we well should. But where is the sympathy for a 15 year old GIRL who is finding it difficult to leave her pimp?

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  4. I agree with all the comments. I'm also horrified by the Pimps getting counseling and the girls getting jail time.

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  5. Cuz we all know kidnapped girls are the problem. Not pedophiles.

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  6. If those lil heffas weren't black and brown and didn't have vaginas, they'd have never gotten in that mess and gotten all those poor men, pimps AND johns, into all that thar trouble!

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  7. "Grown black and white men buying and selling little girls, most of them of color." I have traveled to Brazil and the Caribbean and the sex trade is alive and well. Many rich or abled men take sex-tourists vacations to many non-European countries. They go to Asia, Caribbean, and South American. The airlines and the hotels are aware of this and do nothing to stop it. I was in Brazil and I was with a White man (husband at the time) and was stating in a 5 star hotel (the Rio Palace) and when I walked in at night from Carnival, the doorman blocked my entrance and the quest services man told me to go "check-in" at 2:00am. I was confused and then started telling him that I needed would i need to "check-in" at another desk. I told me that we/I need my key, and gave him our names and our room number. He looked shocked, and finally gave me my/our key. I figured out what was going on after I got to my/our room: They thought I was a prostitute. I told My stupid husband (he did not have a clue what was going on given he was from an all white European country and was just stupid.) to do down there to find out what was the problem and they told him they thought I was a prostitute because all Black looking women who are with White men are prostitutes and would not be guest at such an establishment. My husband was such a coward that he did not even get mad or demand to talk to the owner/manager of the hotel. That was in 1993 and not much has changed.

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  8. Good to know you're not married to that one anymore. Now if only Miz Nita could take her cue from you....

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  9. Betcha dude was from one of those European countries "that had absolutely NO racism" too, huh?

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  10. It very rare that I can watch documentaries like this one because of the emotion that it evokes (I haven't even seen the film but I'm crying as I write this). It's mainly because as a child I'm pretty sure I knew some girls who were victim of child sex trafficking, but I was too young to understand what was going on. I remember in the 5th grade a girl (white) telling me how her parents 'let' these men do things to her and I'm pretty sure money was involved. At the time I was aware of child molestation, I have several family members who were molested, so it was something we talked about at home. I do remember telling my mother about it, but then the girl was gone from school and we also moved shortly after that so I don't know what happened. To this day I wonder what happened to her, cause I never saw her again.

    In my mind all these years I've always considered her a victim of child molestation and not as a prostitute. We all, even those who are advocating for change, need to work on changing the language that we use. The word prostitution while accurate still evokes in this country the idea of a female using sex to make money. I know that even this definition is inadequate to even explain the complexity of prostitution, however, I do believe that we need to make a very clear distinction between what is happening to adults versus children. We need to emphasize in our language that these girls are victims of child molestation and slavery.

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  11. We need to emphasize in our language that these girls are victims of child molestation and slavery.

    I tend to agree. I think a certain part of the mind which should be horrified at the thought of "child prostitution" isn't because we're not hearing the "molestation" and "slavery" factor. Granted, these girls get a "cut", but it's not worth it, and it's not the point. They're children, and that's the point.

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  12. beatlefan1769/10/10, 8:24 AM

    To everyone who has said that they can't watch this doc because of how angry and just sick at the stomach they feel, I implore you to please attempt to watch it. This is a movie you need to watch and tell everyone you know about it. This is not a movie that you will watch with your girlfriends with pizza and ice cream while doing each other's toe nails. However, you need to watch it. We don't watch these movies because they entertain us or allow us to escape from reality or let us feel like the problems we have are not as bad for awhile. We watch these films because someone needs to look at it and bear witness to what happened and say 'I acknowledge your pain'. Not 'Oh, I know how you feel, that line, while usually horrendous and overused, is not why we watch these films. When I was ten, my mother took me to see the Holocaust museum in D.C. About halfway through, I wanted to leave because I couldn't handle the tears and emotions that were invoked by what I was seeing. My mother did not allow me to leave. She said, "If that's how you feel after an afternoon, imagine how these kids felt after a week, a month, a year in one of these camps." Eighteen years later, I understand the point she was trying to make. These documentaries and movies (Precious comes to mind) are there not to shock us or make us gasp like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but so that we can see what is happening in our own community. I'm not saying that those of you who said in K's comments that they can't watch are downplaying an ordeal, but most of the commentors on Netflix that I read (and here I'm generalizing which is bad, but I'm so angry I need to vent)didn't want to watch because it made them squeamish and they would rather push the stop button, shiver and then go back to their own lives where they can pretend it won't happen 'in America'. If it makes us want to barf or get a 'posse' together and drive to N.Y. to find the specific men in this film and beat them like a rented mule, I empathize. That is the reaction any sane person should have. If you've given birth to a daughter, I imagine that sickness and that rage is tenfold. However, we need to watch it because so many people won't. Why is this doc not known but Born Into Brothels won an award? Because the latter happened outside of the U.S. Americans suffer from what George Carlin called NIMBY. 'Not in my back yard!' We don't think it can happen and when it does, we turn the channel. We'd rather watch Snooki make a drunken fool out of herself for twenty minutes than listen to an educated woman make a compelling argument about the state of care for economically disadvantaged little girls. Watch this. Not because it will enrich your life, but because you are telling these girls, 'I've heard and I've listened and it is NOT acceptable.'

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  13. Leo Princess12/2/12, 6:33 PM

    'Boring'? 'Pathetic'? 'Just people being Black'? I'm so sorry, Netflix reviewers. I didn't realize that a documentary showing the harsh realities of children forced into prostitution IN YOUR OWN BACK YARD was supposed to be light-hearted and entertaining. I'll make sure that future docs have many more happy-fun-times in it, and perhaps some musical numbers staring girls who look more like these two!

    Soulless sociopaths. >_<

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