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Cassandra Clifford
Executive Director and Founder of BTFF

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Candy Shop and Broken Dolls

Last week Elyse Elder posted, Fairy tales are battling child exploitation, on the eyeopening awareness short film, The Candy Shop, which we both watched together in the office.  As we watched the piece I was instantly blow away at the depth and artistic twist this short film, which Elyse's boyfriend -a horror film fanatic- stumbled across on YouTube.  The film was not the horror film he had expected, but it was a horror indeed and creeped him out more than most of the cinematic horrors he is used to watching.  As the storyline unfolded the films ere story turned into a nightmare that wasn't the unrealistic nightmare it appeared to be, but the hanis reality of little girls across the country. 

As I watched the film I was instantly carried back in time to childhood as the fairy tale like story began to unfold, however this Willy Wonka character, the Candyman-who's outlandish attire even resembled the glamorized version of an American Pimp- is in a business of satisfying grown men with tasty 'candy' treats. 

As the film unfolded it not only addressed the lost innocence of the Canyman's young victims, but that of the issue of demand for 'candy' that fuels the growing industry that exploits children.  The film's ending is bitter sweet as the not only are some of the 'lollipops' unable to be turned back into little girls, as they are 'too broken'- it also show how putting an end to one 'Canyman's' business is not enough as demand only finds it's way into a new location -reminding me of the endless fight to shut down Korean 'massage parlors' -brothels- we have fought so tirelessly in DC which would often just reemerge a few weeks later or move to Virginia.

Following the film I went rummaging through my old poetry and writings as I vaguely remembered using a similar creative analogy to sex trafficking years ago.  After a bit of searching I found what I was looking for, only it wasn't about a 'candy shop', but a 'doll shop' -though the symbolism and lost innocence parallel.

Broken Doll 
Frank Horvat: Broken doll at flea market, Paris, 1958 
She sits upon the shelf with all the other dolls, smiles painted across their faces, long lashes made to flutter.
Their pretty dresses positioned just right So beautiful and delicate they look upon the shelf.
Each one quietly waits for their buyer to take them home.
  One day the big man comes in, he looks at each little doll searching for the perfect toy to take home And then he sees her... He takes her from the shelf, “This one will do.” 
 Once at home she is no longer placed upon a shelf for one to look at.
She is placed upon the cold bed and positioned every which way the man likes.
Soon the man tires of his doll and he shares her with all his friends and she becomes every one's toy.  Her dress becomes tattered, her body bruised and worn.
But her smile remains firmly painted on her face Tossed around the bed like a rag doll, until she is thrown out with all the other broken dolls.
So many broken dolls... 
So many painted smiles hiding needless pain.
Cassandra Clifford (c)2008
While the film and poem take an artistic approach to opening one's eyes of the horrors of minor sex trafficking he real story is even more ghastly, as some 27 million persons are victims of modern slavery -including the sexual exploitation of young girls and boys. In the United states alone nearly 300,000 are estimated to be at risk for sex trafficking. According to the 2009 National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, by Shared Hope International there are 100,000 children in the U.S. victimized each year.

1 comment:

  1. Hopefully this problem will receive a bit more light than it has. My new novel, Broken Dolls, is a fictional attempt to raise awareness.