These are my favorite documentaries about street kids, abuse, & prostitution. I have provided links to places to view these documentaries for free online where I can.
1. Sacrifice (50 min documentary about girls trafficked from Burma to Thailand . Watching this shocked me so much I was shaking. Directed by Ellen Bruno)
2. Cheated of Childhood (follows two pre-teen street boys in Russia. I was surprised to learn how very vulnerable street boys are to sexual abuse). Watch it on youtube here:
3. Child Prostitution in South Africa – a journeyman documentary. I was very surprised how young these girls were. Watch it on Youtube here:
4. Sex Slaves – Frontline – about women trafficked in Eastern Europe; the film makers follow one desperate man as he impersonates a pimp in order to contact the man who is pimping his wife, hoping to free his wife. A very interesting Frontline documentary. INFP9 has uploaded it to youtube in 6 parts, here is part 1:
5. El Banate Dol or “These Girls” (Tahani Rached 2006) – about a girl gang in Cairo, Egypt (street girls)
6. Cutting Edge – the Child Sex Trade – channel 4 – (by British filmmaker Andrew Smith and Romanian reporter Liviu Tipurita). View here:
7. Children Underground – a 2001 documentary about a group of 5 Romanian street kids who live in a train tunnel. This is my favorite documentary! Their leader is Cristina, a 16 year old girl with a shaved head who dresses like a boy and fights agressively determined to prevent sexual attacks and violence from the older street boys (Cristina grabbed my heart the most). The other kids are intelligent and kind 12 year old Mihai, a boy who ran away from a violent father; siblings Ana (10) and her affection-starved brother Marian (8); and finally, miserable, drug addicted 14 year old orphan girl Macarena who the older boys find easy to attack, and who imagines she has parents and a sister who attends private school in another city. What is particularly disturbing in the documentary is the amount of violence inflicted by the street kids against each other and against older homeless people, and the police violence. Young street boys beat up old homeless men & women, and put explosives in their hats while they are asleep. We see a group of older boys attack 14yo Macarena, and a group of kids attack 10yo Ana. We see Ana hit her brother many times (and then hug him). We see 16yo Cristina whip the street kids she cares for. We see a distraught 12yo Mihai violently cutting his arm repeatedly with some broken glass.
8. Lilya 4-ever. This is not a documentary, it is a film, however it is based on a true story that the director read about in a newspaper. It is about a poor parentless Estonian girl who has to survive by herself, and is forced into prostituting herself. Her friendship with a young homeless boy is very moving. This is easily one of my favorite films. I watched it about 4 times in Russian on youtube until I found a subtitled English version (I don’t speak any Russian but I just loved the film, and could basically understand what was happening). Here is a version that has English subtitles:
9. I strongly recommend “Born into Brothels” (the film maker provided the children with cameras to document their lives. The children lived in brothels as their mothers were prostitutes. One of the girls had already been forced into prostitution for a short time, another was being strongly pressured into it at the time of the documentary).
10. Children of Leningradsky – a documentary about young street kids who live underground in tunnels in Russia during winter (where the hot water pipes keep them warm). It was a good documentary, but fairly patchy, and didn’t explain what was happening very well (eg. one child dies during the film-making but they don’t bother to say what caused that child’s death).
11. Invisible Children – a documentary made by a bunch of young college guys about the Ugandan children who commute to the city every night to sleep in safety, away from the rebel soldiers who kidnap village children to become soldiers or ‘wives’. It was a very good and important documentary, although I wanted to here more from the children themselves & less voice-over commentaries. I also wanted to here from some girl children.