I’m a huge fan of documentaries…love them , love them, LOVE THEM!
On more than one occasion, I’ve watched a documentary that truly changed my perception of a thing and opened up my eyes to a situation happening in my community.
Such was the case with the documentary Very Young Girls.
Very Young Girls profiles young women in the GEMS (Girls Educational & Mentoring Services) program, which is the only organization in New York State specifically designed to serve girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking.
To say that this documentary is powerful is to under-represent how life changing it was for me. I volunteer with young women just like those featured in Very Young Girls…teens and sometimes tweens who have experienced exploitation, rape and abuse and then experienced a court system that has pre-determined their guilt even as it gives their abuser a slap on the hand.
Very Young Girls is not easy to watch.
There are points in the film that made me want to turn away, but then I thought that if these young women could endure it then I can watch and honor their testimony.
I thought of Very Young Girls when I read the news today that law enforcement busted up a sex trafficking ring that was victimizing at least 69 children by selling them for sex on the internet and street.
It is important to note that this didn’t happen in a foreign country - this happened and happens “here”…down the street, around the corner and sometimes next door.
And for every high profile law enforcement sweep there are thousands of very young girls and boys who are still being sexually exploited or punished by the justice system for having been sexually exploited.
But there is hope…that’s the thing that blew me away about Very Young Girls.
There’s hope and healing and empowerment and strength…laughter and tears, mistakes and triumphs…
For more information on GEMS.
For more information on Very Young Girls.
Take the Pledge – join the GEMS Council of Daughters and commit to take concrete steps in your daily life to end the commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking of girls and young women in the US.