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The Independent Critic

Daryl Hannah, Ron Wyden, Jane Velez-Mitchell
Charles Taylor Gould
Charles Taylor Gould, Keith Murphy
54 Mins.
MVD Entertainment Group

 "Your American Teen" Examines Sexual Exploitation of Teen Girls 
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Every 30 seconds, and most likely more frequently, another girl is a victim of sex trafficking.

By the time you finish reading this paragraph, another teenager will have been kidnapped, molested and raped by a predator, friend or trusted family member. By the time you read this, millions of young girls will be lured in by advertisers selling the message that the sexier they look the more they will be accepted and valued by society.

In just the past couple of weeks, we've seen Victoria's Secret announce plans for a brand of intimate wear for the teen/young adult population. We've watched as a 16-year-old gets vilified by the public despite being the passed out victim of a drunken assault by two Ohio high school football players. We've listened to a crap song by Rick Ross glorifying the drugging and exploitation of young women.

Your American Teen is a feature documentary being released on home video by MVD Entertainment Group that examines the sexual exploitation of teenage girls in one particular northwest region of the United States. From incest to drugs, violent sexualized music to advertisements and movies to sexual harassment in schools, malls and on the web, it's abundantly clear that our girls are under attack.

The film follows three girls, in particular, for an approximate period of two years. All three suffered severe childhood trauma and had parents who were either unable or unwilling to care for them.

The stories? Frightening and harrowing?

The lesson? Perhaps, there is still hope.

The interviews contained here are intensely honest, and director Charles Taylor Gould has also wisely involved some respected names in the field and, as a producer on the film, actress Daryl Hannah. The combination of deeply personal stories and professional analysis makes Your American Teen a compelling and disturbing and unforgettable documentary.

While the film at time feels just a tad formulaic in its approach, it's perhaps the best kind of introduction into a very difficult subject to talk about because it's presented as both a deeply personal issue and an issue that has a universal impact. In some ways, Your American Teen is a reminder that this isn't just an issue for Asian countries as too often the American media wants to tell you. No, instead it's happening and it could very well be happening in your own neighborhood. It's well known that one of the highest volume days for sex trafficking in the U.S. just happens to be Super Bowl Sunday, a fact that has led to considerable efforts for at least the past couple Super Bowls in combating human trafficking even as the game itself is going on.

Your American Teen is a difficult documentary, but it's an important documentary. For those invested in protecting the future of our young girls it's a documentary to not be missed.

© Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic
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