Kids for Sale
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Cherry Kingsley
Elisabeth Reuter

Zur deutschen Version: Auf die Fahnen clicken!



Broadcast: 23.2.2000, 8:15 p.m., 3sat

A documentary by Petrus van der Let und Christian Schüller

The sexual exploitation of our children is no longer a problem limited to the Third World. Some 300 street children also live from prostitution and the drugs trade in Vienna, for example. And Vancouver, the city of 2 million inhabitants on the west coast of Canada, is also infamous for its child prostitution.

Cherry Kingsley, who was forced into prostitution in Vancouver at the age of 14, today runs a self-help program for young people from this milieu. It works from houses where the girls and boys can find refuge - also from pimps. This is the only way that makes it possible for them to quit.

 Cherry Kingsley coordinates the individual projects all over the country and creates new ones where necessary. In Vienna social workers are calling for such a house and Elisabeth Mayer from the magistrate‘s office says that 80% of the young people who slip into prostitution, are abused at home or by close acquaintances first.

Sensational cases of child abuse are triggering new calls for tougher penalities and stricter laws. Efforts by social workers and therapists to protect children from abuse are less highly publicized.

KIDS FOR SALE also shows how the youth office, the administration of a children‘s home and psychotherapists work together to investigate accusations raised by a mother against the father of an 11 year-old boy, without increasing the pressure on the child.

A mother also talks about how she is only allowed to visit her children under supervision even though the court acquitted her. She had been accused of knowing about sexual infringements her partner made against her daughter. Since the facts of the case are still not established, the woman‘s children are torn between various relatives and differing versions of the truth.

Frequently “punishing the criminal“ means merely that the father has to go to jail, leaving a wrecked family behind. Now experts are increasingly aiming towards prevention. In several Austrian schools a new educational project called “Love Talks“ is being made available to both parents and pupils of all age groups. The children practice saying “no“ and defending themselves when physical proximity becomes unpleasant for them. And parents are encouraged to talk to their children openly about sexuality.

Elisabeth Reuter from Germany paints and writes books about what goes on in a child who seeks affection and experiences sexual violence instead. At an exhibition of her pictures in Vienna, she discusses her experiences with pupils. Experiencing sexual abuse during childhood almost always leaves emotional scars that last a lifetime.

Ms. Reuter sought healing in therapy, but her therapist wanted to put the blame for the abuse on her. Unfortunately this is not an isolated situation today, as the psychoanalyst, Arno Gruen, states in the film.

By comparison, the Canadian program, “Outward Bound“, tries to give girls and women who have experienced sexual violence, a new sense of self-esteem through training courses in untouched nature. “Outward Bound“ was developed 60 years ago in Britain and today there are such schools for experiencing nature in 35 countries. The film KIDS FOR SALE is also available as a video cassette, along with the book with the same title by Guido and Michael Grandt and Petrus van der Let.

The book WARE KIND by Guido and Michael Grandt/ Petrus van der Let was
published 1999 by Patmos-Verlag, Düsseldorf.

Directed by: Petrus van der Let and Christian Schüller
Executive Producer: George Weiss
World Sales: Petrus van der Let Filmproduktion

German version with English subtitles available (44 min. Beta SP).