Gritty Sex-Trafficking Film Draws Capacity Crowd on Campus
By Doug Carroll
GCU News Bureau
“Rape for Profit,” a disturbing documentary that shines a light on the dark underworld of sex trafficking in Seattle, was screened Monday night before a packed house at Ethington Theatre on the Grand Canyon University campus.
The 90-minute film weaves “Cops”-style car chases and prostitution busts with heartbreaking interviews of women whose lives were ruined by the streets before they found a measure of redemption. The Genesis Project, a shelter begun by Seattle law-enforcement officers to help young women and girls break the cycle, is shown as a harbor of hope amid a grim, depraved urban landscape.
Sex trafficking, which has become a hot issue locally and nationally for its exploitation of minors, is something that “pisses us off,” said Douglas Haines, one of three mid-20s men involved in the making of the film who fielded questions from the mostly student audience after the screening.
“We’re from Seattle, we love Seattle, and it’s happening in our back yard,” Haines said.
Haines, producer Jason Pamer and director Eric Esau challenged the notion that prostitution is a victimless crime, and the sad stories told by women in the film supported their position. Particularly gripping was a tearful interview with Darly, whose life of sexual abuse began at an early age.
“I was so hungry to be wanted by somebody,” said Darly, who thought she had been rescued from the streets by a woman who made things even worse, prostituting her for years before she finally broke away.
The filmmakers, who received a standing ovation when they were introduced at the conclusion of the showing, said they plan to release “Rape for Profit” nationally via iTunes this summer. They said that a high-profile Hollywood actress will be involved as a spokesperson.
Esau said the film, a few years in the making, was intended to challenge men to be accountable for their behavior, and he said that pornography functions as a gateway to prostitution.
“Our mission was to focus on the demand,” Esau said. “The supply is there because of the demand. This happens because women are treated by men as objects. Pornography is the dress rehearsal, and prostitution is the main event.
“Men need to rise up and stop this. It’s not the girls’ choice. It’s men who are creating this problem.”
Haines called for a new understanding of the sex trade, which typically characterizes women as willing participants.
“Stop calling them hookers,” he said. “They are victims. They are prostituted women. … Even if we just change our vernacular, that’s a huge deal.”
Esau said popular films such as “Pretty Woman” that glamorize the life of a prostitute aren’t helping the battle against sex trafficking.
“Pretty much no one chooses (prostitution),” he said. “Some men have this idea that these women are ‘just’ prostitutes. Most of the women are forced into this by a pimp, and we have to change the way the culture perceives that.”
For more about “Rape for Profit,” go to www.rapeforprofitfilm.com. The organization Streetlight (www.streetlightusa.org) is heavily involved in efforts to fight sex trafficking in metropolitan Phoenix.
Contact Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or firstname.lastname@example.org.