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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Very Young Girls
Directed by David Schisgall
Swinging T Productions 07/08 Documentary
The average age of prostitutes in New York City is 13, and once they have been forced into service for their pimps, it is very difficult for them to escape from "the life." Rachel Lloyd is one person they can turn to. She provides shelter and wise counsel through the Girls Educational Mentoring Service (GEMS) organization which has been operating since 1998. Having once been a prostitute, she is familiar with all the tricks of the trade and the powers that sweet talking and abusive pimps have on these adolescents.
Documentary filmmaker David Schisgal shows home movies of two pimp brothers and their interactions with their girls, who are their virtual slaves, handing over all the money they earn day by day. Lloyd has her work cut out for her as she tries to keep some "very young girls" from falling back into prostitution. As she notes, there is no magical cure: only the hard work of starting all over from scratch. One of the women in the program decides to work for GEMS and that is a sign of real progress. Lloyd is honored with a Human Rights Award and uses the occasion to ridicule the misogyny on the Oscar-winning song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." Hopefully this documentary will convince more citizens to join the battle against the sexploitation of young girls.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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