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Filmmaker shares range of gender expression, identity found in African religion at San Diego film festival. Do the rituals of religion make you a better person? Public Safety. New San Diego police unit will review instances when officers use force. But a new documentary shines an unflinching light on something San Diego is infamous for: sex trafficking. San Diego County is one of the 13 top areas in the nation for sex trafficking. Most of the victims are American-born teenage girls who are recruited into prostitution by gang members as young as 12 years old, but mostly in the to year age range.
Some victims have experienced sexual trauma at a young age or come from unstable homes, which makes them more vulnerable to grooming. Once isolated from their families and dependent on their pimps, these girls are required to have sex with 10 to 15 men a night to meet sales quotas, or face the consequences.
Marjorie Saylor, one of the women featured in the film, spent eight years as a sex worker before escaping from her pimp. In the film, she described her life as dark, desperate and dangerous. One customer, naked and high on drugs, became violent when she resisted his aggressive behavior. She now runs The Well Pathan Escondido-based support organization to help sex workers leave that life for good.
Why is San Diego such a hotbed for sex trafficking?
Most cities with a high rate of tourism have a large pool of sex workers to meet visitor demand. San Diego County has gangs that profit from sexual exploitation rings, according to county reports. But there are other reasons women in San Diego are drawn into the lifestyle. The film was researched, written and produced by Wisneski and a seven-member production team. In the film, Paulson describes how the growth of social media in the past 10 to 12 years has both dramatically expanded and normalized the sex trade, taking it from street corners and seedy strip clubs to websites and cellphone apps where customers can anonymously shop for sex.
Stephan says in the film that the biggest request male sex-shoppers make is for year-old girls, which has fueled recruitment for ever-younger victims. Pimps recruit through Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, where they send private messages to girls complimenting their looks.
Posing as modeling agency photographers and film casting agents, they meet girls in libraries, parks, schools, malls and libraries. Tyesa Harvey, the third woman featured in the film, spent 17 years in prostitution. Her mother was a sex worker and her father was a pimp. She suffered sexual abuse at age 8 and went to work for her first pimp at Harvey said teaching girls the tools to avoid recruitment and having resources to escape that life is important.
But changing the mindset of men is just as vital. During the panel discussion, she told the audience she is raising her little boy to see women as equals, not commodities unworthy of respect. She does this by regulating the music and language he hears, the people he meets and how she dresses around him. For tickets, visit sdfilmweek. Opera superstar Stephanie Blythe plans concert tribute to lyricist Johnny Mercer.
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