Very young girl is a movie that addresses the topic of the underage prostitution in the New York City with a documentary that has the stories of several unsuspecting girls who fall victims of the city’s cruel as well as manipulative pimps. Rachel Lloyd the founder of the Girls Education and Mentoring Services (GEMS) and a former prostitute gives these little hopeless girls hope and courage again and assist them find another way of life. She is determined to ensure that the youths of today do not make the same mistakes as she was enticed into the grubby world of prostitution.
The movie takes us through the exact situation in the city as we watch the life of these young women. Teen girls are seen at different phases of this transition. While some of the girls have completely and successfully broken up with their pasts others have been so psychologically manipulated by their pimps such that they feel compelled to return to their previous life. As we come to know these girls better, they emerge as well-rounded individuals full of unexpected laughter and insight. One chilling element the film uncovers is a videotape confiscated by police of two pimps recording their activities with the intent of making a reality television show. Later Lloyd gets recognized for her work at a human rights awards ceremony.
Gender and sex
Sex refers to the biological differences; chromosomes, hormonal profiles, internal and external sex organs, while gender expresses the characteristics that a society or culture delineates as masculine or feminine. Sociologically ‘gender role’ refers to the characteristics as well as behaviors that different cultures attribute to the sexes Prince (2005). What it means to be a ‘real man’ in any culture requires male sex plus what our various cultures define as masculine characteristics and behaviors, likewise a ‘real woman’ needs female sex and feminine characteristics.
A number of women earn part or all their living as sex workers. The sex industry includes pornography, nude dancing, telephone sex, as well as computer pornography. Contrary to the ugly stereotypes of prostitutes as fallen women, dope addicts, or disease carriers, sex workers are women at work–supporting children as single parents, trying to save money to go to school, surviving economically in a job market that underpays women at every economic level.
As adult sex workers speak out, they expose the many forms of violence that they experience: Poverty that forces women, especially women of color and runaway teenagers, into work as sex workers Sexism in the job market that means that even middle- and upper-class women can earn more in sex work than in most other jobs available Intimidation and beatings by pimps, to whom many sex workers must give their earnings in return for protection, Police harassment and lack of police protection when they are victims of crime such as robbery, battery, and rape, The arrest and prosecution of prostitutes while clients go free (Willis, 2010). The racism and class bias that lead to the arrest and imprisonment of far more prostitutes of colour and women with low incomes than white, middle-class women, even though the majority of sex workers are white and middle-class are the challenges this women face day in day out.
Very young girls takes us through a face of this challenges faced by the young women. The film is a reflection of the modern society. The victim has no one to turn to the people who are supposed to help her treat her like a criminal. The girls are left to live in fear and terror some of them do not even survive the ordeals while others end up hating the opposite sex all through their lives.
Sexual exploitation refers to the exchange of money, drugs, food or shelter for sexual activities, especially with children or youths under the age of eighteen. Drug use is linked to sexual exploitation in a number of ways. To begin with, many persons who are exploited are sexually assaulted, raped and abused when under the influence of drugs Carlson (2010). Again, many people become involved in the sex industry to finance their drug addiction and often trade their body for drugs. Lastly, human and drug trafficking are often linked, and through threats of violence and promises of freedom. This is never considered prostitution or consensual. Some youth feel they are not being exploited, and that they have chosen to exchange sexual acts for resources. But sexual exploitation is not employment nor is it a chosen occupation; it is a form of sexual abuse.
Prostitution and Substance Abuse
Drugs are basically related to prostitution, especially street prostitution. Estimates suggest that between 40 and 85 per cent of the prostitutes are drug users (Carlson, 2010). Many prostitutes, men and women, engage in this behavior to support their drug habits and are often the victim of sexual exploitation, violent crimes, rapes, assaults and other serious crimes but these are very often unreported crimes.
In some cases, an individual begins to prostitute herself as a way to finance a drug habit. In other cases, a third person may be forcing a person to work on the street or in a brothel to make money. Drug use may be a consequence of the life that a prostitute leads and drugs may be taken to numb themselves, deal with the reality of their life and as a way to be able to get on the street and continue to do the degrading and often violent work. In some cases, a prostitute will be forced by a pimp or other person to take drugs to ensure that they do as they are told and have sex with people. This is particularly true in the case of young people and children.
Sex trafficking is the act whereby a person is induced by force, fraud or coercion to perform a sexual act (Kotrla, 2009). Sex trafficking often involves a person being promised a job in another country, being sold by a family member to a third part, a false marriage proposal or a kidnapping situation then made to work as a prostitute or perform sexual acts as a payment. Women and girls are the most commonly trafficked people for this purpose.
Sex traffickers will use a variety of ways to make a person conform to their demands. Rape, physical abuse, starvation, violence, drugs, gang-rape and guilt are used to break a person and shame a victim into the life of a sexual slave or a prostitute. Drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine are commonly used to make a person become an addict and force them to do the work the traffickers want them to do.
Each person can have different reactions to victimization. Trauma is the term that describes both the physical and emotional reactions to a traumatic event. Common symptoms of trauma include reviewing parts of the crime over and over in one’s mind, mood swings, shaken sense of personal safety, heightened sense of smell or hearing, emotional detachment, disassociation, and so on. Symptoms associated with trauma may take several weeks to subside. Under the fear and pain of withdrawals or while they are high on the drugs, many of the victims of exploitation will do acts they would otherwise not ever consider doing. They may also find it near impossible to leave the grasp of the abusers or traffickers and return home to families and friends. Getting help from the police or health workers is often difficult because of the illegality of the lifestyle they have been forced into and attending rehabilitation or detoxification may be beyond their grasp due to associated poverty.
Many of the victims of exploitation will suffer from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health problems as a result of the crimes they have been involved in. Resolving these issues at the same time as overcoming a substance abuse problem may be difficult, but with appropriate care and training, recovery is possible.
The girls, who are maturing physically, but remain emotional infants, are desperately in need of some guidance. Rachel Lloyd, who is the film’s central character, has dedicated her life to give them this helps. Lloyd’s personal background was troubled born in the UK she dropped out of school and fled to Munich, here she worked as a teenage stripper as well as hooker and later she transferred her trade to New York York, she eventually changed her act. She began to help young girls as well as women who find themselves in the similar situation.
Underneath its broad ideological implications, though, this film is intensely humanistic, concerned less with commoditized bodies than with people for whom “normal life” is a beautiful if distant dream. It’s great that the film brings the plight of the young girls to light as well as the fact that it refrains from inflicting any given amount of neither blame nor shame on the girls. However the film ought and should have taken a stronger backing role by pointing out just where as well as how the social system falls apart in the providing the children any form of safety as well as fails to punish those who take part in the abuse as well as exploit the young stars in such a way that they become a lesson to other predators. This would make very young girls a stronger as well as more effective film and would help pass on the efforts and message of Rachel Lloyd. In additional the authority must make a serious effort to enforce the article 34 of the international convention of child rights, stating that “states must protect the children from all forms of sexual exploitation as well as sexual violence.”
- Kotrla, K. (2010)”Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking In The United States.” Social Work 55.2: 181-187
- Neil R., Carlson (2010). Psychology: The science of behavior. Fourth Canadian edition. Pearson. 140–141