We don't often hear about boys being involved in the flesh trade. When Hope for the Sold shared this short film made in Atlanta, I thought at first it was about the gay demand targeting young boys. While that is indeed an issue, the film rather focuses on ways the sex trade targets and manipulates boys into being involved on a power level… a financial level… a future level… a pleasure level — gay or straight.
The hero — young Jimmy — has a deathly ill mother and his only means of supporting her is to sell papers for nickels. The shopkeep who hires him seems a rather admirable sort, but still… Jimmy's wage is not enough to make her well. Across the street from the grocery story where Jimmy earns his coin is a Candy Store, where a Wonka-esque Candy Man entertains men, including the admirable shopkeep, to taste his confections.
Eventually, The Candy Man approaches Jimmy and lures him with the promise of money for his mother (yes, the Candy Man somehow knows about Jimmy's private life), of a future, and the dazzling idea that a paper boy possess potential. For boys without any future or potential, those are tempting things indeed.
Jimmy considers the offer. Yet when the Candy Man gets his hands on his friend, Nancy, our hero sees the reality of the Candy Man's 'machine'.
It is a creepy film. The over symbolism cannot be disguised, but it wasn't designed to be. This is a crafted, artistic work to engage the average person about an issue they may not see in front of them. Not only that, it targets an often forgotten demographic when speaking of the sex trade: boys looking for respect, money, and hope for a future. We need speak out not only for our vulnerable girls, but our boys as well. They are not simply porn-beasts-in-waiting, as some would have us believe. There is innocence and nobility here, and we must fight as hard for them as we do for our girls.
Please be aware that the subject matter is mature, and should your children want to watch, do watch with them.