Saturday, April 19, 2008

Very Young Girls at the IFC

I've been working at GEMS for almost a year and a half and my time there has been life changing. We serve girls who have been victims of commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. Many people aren't aware that US born girls are involved in the commercial sex industry and many get involved as early as 13. Prior to working at GEMS, I certainly didn't know. The girls are bought and sold by adult men and subjected to violence beyong my worst imagination. Say what you want about teen girls and the right to express their sexuality-- being bought and sold on the streets, in brothels, or on Craigs List is just wrong and should be criminal for the adult men who do the buying and the selling. Yet, most often its the girls who are crimininalized. I could go on, obviously, but I'd much rather you come learn about it first hand from the girls themselves.

If you are in the New York City area and you want to learn more, come check out the documentary Very Young Girls at the IFC on Tuesday April 22. The doc follows girls who have been involved in the commercial sex industry, under the control of pimps, as the struggle to get out and stay out. This screening will be followed by a Q and A with Rachel Lloyd and Carolina Cruz as well as the filmmakers.

Check out what Girlbomb author Janice Erlbaum wrote after seeing the film at our fundraiser.

Learn more through and interview with one of the filmmakers Priya Swaminathan .

Want a sense of the what the demand and the marketing of young girls is like in the US? Try googling the words "very young girls" and tell me how many porn hits you get.


Ben said...

Very Young Girls is an incredible film about an incredible organization helping incredible young women escape modern sexual slavery. The age at which girls are first sexually exploited in this country (13!!!) is appalling. The "brainwashing" that they are put through, to the point where many girls long to return to their exploiter is incredibly sad, and reminds me of my own work on cults and violent sects, and of Robert Jay Lifton's work on ideological totalism. After watching this film, one wants to drop everything and work on this issue.

Short of dropping everything what can one do? Obviously, donate money or goods in kind to organizations like GEMS. They have a wish list on their website (, if you need a place to start. Talk about this movie with your friends and family. Support legislation like the Safe Harbor Act. Raise people's awareness of the issue, particularly around the age of entry. Be creative.

Patty, you are doing some incredible work; and I applaud you, Rachel, and everybody else at GEMS.

PS-Now only four of the first ten google hits for "very young girls" are porn. The other six are about this movie.

Patti Binder said...

Ben-- Thanks for coming on Tuesday-- it was great to see you!-- and for making the connection between the brainwashing in cults/sects and what happens to sexually exploited girls. So many people can't get beyond the stereotypes of prostitution to see the horrific mind control and violence the girls are subjected to.

Thanks for the shout out to GEMS and our work!