Friday, July 4, 2008

Very Young Girls

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: NYC Documentary Shows It’s Hard Out There for a Ho, Too

Anyone with a pre-teen daughter ought to be required
to watch this revealing expose’. For, 13 is now the average age at which an unsuspecting girl becomes ensnared in a life of prostitution in the United States.
What is most shocking is the fact that most of these adolescents come from good families and were your average adolescents when they disappeared in an instant after being kidnapped by some sweet-talking pimp they met while alone on the street or in a public place like a bus stop or a train station. Perhaps because this is an age where pimps are a part of mainstream culture, being enthusiastically promoted on TV by everyone from rapper Snoop Dogg to comedian Katt Williams, impressionable females are apparently not being effectively schooled about how evil and seductive these monsters actually are.
Very Young Girls is an eye-opening documentary by David Schisgall and Nina Alvarez, although the filmmakers ought to share directorial credits with Anthony and Chris Griffith, since these sick siblings shot a lot of the footage. Believe it or not, the brothers are New York pimps who have videotaped themselves plying their trade hoping to interest BET or some other network into giving them their own reality show. So, we’re treated to the sight of these vultures roaming the city in their pimpmobile, boasting “We’re gonna find a new ho today.”
Just as compelling as the antics of these godless creeps are the heartbreaking stories of their victims. For instance, there’s Shaneiqua who was an A-student when abducted at the age of 12. She recounts how she was flattered that a 30 year-old man was showering her with attention.
However, two weeks after one took her virginity, his personality changed like Jekyll and Hyde. He suddenly announced for the first time that he was a pimp, raped her anally, and called her a dumb bitch before turning her out on the street.
The sad narratives of the other girls interviewed here sound similar. 13 year-old Dominique says she doesn’t understand why her pimp beat her and had other whores slap her, too. She admits to snorting coke before having sex in a crackhouse with a dozen guys who dumped her in the back of an abandoned car without any seats when they were through with her.
Kim wants to run away but is scared since she’s been threatened with death by her pimp. Staci wonders why her parents haven’t come to rescue her. 14 year-old Nicole, who says she was kidnapped and forced to sleep with 30 men in 5 days, was recently arrested, but treated like a criminal instead of a victim.
The picture drives home the point that the criminal justice system is not working since these teens are being carted off to jail when they obviously ought to be hospitalized or returned to their parents. The picture also highlights the efforts of one desperate mother, LaSharon, to rescue her underage daughter who’s been missing for a couple of months and is rumored to be under the thumb of a pimp.
Believe it or not, the cops callously refuse to intervene when LaSharon arrives at her local precinct with a fresh lead, since they prefer to treat the case as a runaway, not as an abduction. Fortunately, there is a group willing to help, the Girls Education Monitoring Services (GEMS). Founded by Rachel Lloyd, herself a survivor of sexual exploitation, the organization is relentless in its efforts to find young hookers in order to offer them shelter, protection and an avenue back to a normal life.
Yeah, it’s hard out here for the million plus hos currently caught up in the world’s oldest profession, but should we really be surprised about this explosion in human trafficking in the ghetto when it has been celebrated for over a decade in every other gangsta’ video?

Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 83 minutes
Studio: Swinging T Productions
Distributor: Showtime Networks

To see a trailer of Very Young Girls, visit:

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