Two punks named Anthony and Chris Griffith bruthahs from "the hood" decided to get rich by forcing very young girls to streetwalk for them, and also shooting home-movie footage of the girls plying this trade. The Griffiths planned to increase their wealth and fame by creating a cable-TV programme based on this footage. While holding my nose, I must endorse one aspect of this scheme: I have no doubt that the cable-TV companies would eagerly beat a path to the Griffiths' address.
Fortunately, their current address is a prison. More about this later. Some of their video footage shows up in this documentary: Although they all fell into the Griffiths' clutches, they also had the good luck to cross paths with Rachel Lloyd, founder of Girls' Educational and Mentoring Services and also co-exec producer of this documentary.
GEMS are an outreach group dedicated to rescuing young women from the sex industry, and stabilising their lives. We meet individual girls, telling their stories before, during and after prostitution. It's no surprise that some of them had absent or abusive fathers: The Griffiths bait their trap with sweet talk and presents, getting the girls hooked on drugs and therefore dependent , then terrorising them to make sure they obey.
We see a brief clip of a 'john class'. Men arrested for patronising prostitutes in New York City, if they have no previous record, have the opportunity to clean their records if they attend a lecture on the dangers of prostitution. The johns we see here are clearly merely going through the motions: Two of the men seen here wear Jewish regalia one Hasidic , and I'm sure there are a few church-going Christians in the pew, too. As the former prostitutes regain their humanity, they also discover their individuality.
Another one gets married in a Pentecostal wedding. Sadly, at least one goes back to her old tricks. Another vanishes without a trace. I found most of this movie chillingly realistic. Only one sequence seemed staged: The image and sound editing are inconsistent: Some people's faces are digitally blurred in odd ways noses and mouths obscured but eyes intact , and the people so favoured aren't always the ones you'd expect: Due to poor audio recording especially in the Griffiths' footage and the terrible diction of many participants, several sequences are given much-needed subtitles Rachel Lloyd a British-born survivor of sexual abuse in her teen years is a charismatic advocate for her cause, but she has one of the most bizarre speech patterns I've ever encountered Elsewhere, Ms Young points out a cruel irony: The Griffiths were ultimately convicted, and their own amateur footage was used as evidence against them.
Yet, oddly, they were only nicked on a variant of the Mann Act, for transporting a prostitute across state lines. This is something I've never understood about U. With this movie's title and subject matter, some people will want to see 'Very Young Girls' for prurient reasons. As far as that goes, there are only a few brief shots on offer here of streetwalkers, faces obscured, in the early stages of negotiation with customers.
I would describe 'Very Young Girls' as honest, except for one strange omission: As a crudely-made but sincere documentary that addresses a real problem, I'll rate 'Very Young Girls' 7 out of Was this review helpful to you?