This part of Lisa’s story didn’t make it into the #film, but it’s something that she struggles with. How to get clean, how to make it out of the life. If anything, she’s a #survivor.
“I’m not going nowhere. I have an image in my head of what I would want to be, but no matter what, its like, how do I get there? But in reality, maybe I realize that me being in jail, me getting sober, is a step toward that image of who I want to be.” Photo Credit: Tim Matsui
The story starts with a pretty teenage girl named Natalie. She was a good student and kid but decides that she simply wanted to rebel. She didn’t want to face the pressure of school so she snuck out of her loving home with a backpack and left on a bus for Seattle one night. Little did she know that within 24 hours of being there she would meet a woman at a shelter who would introduce her to prostitution. Before she knew it she was in a basement selling her virgin body for sex. Natalie was 15.
Natalie shares her painful story.
“There wasnt really much that I think I was running away from at home. I think that I just wanted to #rebel. I think that I wanted to not have to listen to rules or have to worry about getting straight A’s for my parents.”
Within 36 hours of leaving home, Natalie was contacted by a ‘bottom girl’ and on her way to being pimped out.
Natalie, pimped out within 36 hours of leaving home: “I just wanted to #rebel.” Free streaming @tlnmovie at hope.ly/1ySHk6W #seattle Photo credit: Tim Matsui
Natalie’s story was particularly heartbreaking to hear as it shows how vulnerable and desperate these young girls are who are completely taken advantage of by much older pimps. She tries to go home but only lasts a short while before she is back on the streets of Seattle at age 15 working as a prostitute brining in sometimes $1500 a night and not getting a dime of it. Her pimp abused her and eventually got caught and put in jail.
Meanwhile her loving father Tom and mother Naocle’s life is turned upside down. At one point Tom decides to try to look for his daughter on the streets of Seattle but gives up in desperation.
For all you #fathers.
“The support that we thought we had with friends, that just stopped. It felt like they looked at us like it was like our fault, like it was something that we had done, as opposed to something that somebody else had done.”
Natalie’s father speaking about how their #community responded when she finally returned from the hands of her pimp.
Photo credit: Tim Matsui
For me, the most heartwarming part of the film is the work that three caring King County Sheriff’s Detectives do. We meet Andy, Joel and Brian who become increasingly concerned about the growing numbers of underage girls in prostitution. Instead of arresting them, they come up with an alternative, the Genesis Project.
The Genesis Project was created in Seattle as a center to tackle young prostitution and help them escape the dreadful lives they lead. It offers long term housing, GED program, life skills training, and social work to help them get off the streets, out of drugs and rehabilitated back into the life of a teenage girl. With all the bad press these days about cops, I was truly inspired to learn about Andy, Joel and Brian’s work.
Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Taylor, on how his policing changed when he started listening to the sex workers he encountered on the job.
“Take the time to engage them and talk to them and find out why they are out there and I think it would change a lot of officers’, young officers’, minds and not look at them as throw away people.” Photo Credit: Tim Matsui
The film is a powerful piece is is free to watch this weekend and after today will be available as a pay per view online. It is definitely worth a watch and sharing. It is important for us to spread the word and advocate for these girls. As a mother of two, I cannot even begin to imagine the horror of underage prostitution. But together, we can all fight against it and try to make the world a better place.
Tim Matsui’s Pinterest
has a board with a bunch of trafficking related articles, if they’re interested. They span the gamut of the issue and posting doesn’t imply endorsement.
Lastly, some words from Windy (Lisa’s mom)
One of the main people in the movie is Lisa who has been a prostitute since 13 (6 years) and is a heroin addict. She is now in jail. Her mother who has done everything she can to help Lisa, wants everyone to know this:
“People NEED to see this film! I want to help get it out there. Not so people can watch with gory fascination, but so they can SEE reality and be moved to ACT.
“My whole reason for wanting this film and it’s subject matter put out there is because if it can spare one girl and her family, it’s worth it. At the same time, I want Lisa to at least have a fair shot, EVERY SINGLE TIME she tries to get clean.
“I just finished looking at the photo essay from MSNBC. Wow. I’m speechless. You did an amazing job capturing Lisa’s struggle. I hope and pray daily that she makes it out. Alive would be even better, but we all know the stakes in this…People never want to examine the ugly reality too closely, so it needs to be amplified.”