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Mia Sampson's dreams to be a model come true when she's asked to pose for photographs to be displayed on an Internet website for "members only." However, when the owner of the website uses her pictures for exploitation purposes, Mia's mother must fight to remove the photos off the web and restore her daughter's privacy. Written by
It's clear that Selling Innocence has struck a nerve. That's not surprising given endless stream of internet exploitation stories we see in the news. As a viewer I found it to be a gripping enough thriller to watch its second run Saturday on CTV. As a television reporter I felt a ring of truth on several levels. I have met creeps that exploit children, and they are just like Malcolm, cold and full of justification. And I've seen cases of young women drawn to the flame of fame, only to have their lives ruined. Is Selling Innocence hyperbole? I don't think so.
I do find disturbing some of the criticism that Selling Innocence doesn't show "the real thing". If it did, we'd have never seen or heard of Selling Innocence, because it would be buried in the back of the local porn store. In mainstream media we always sanitize our images. Even in news, notice we don't show the gore in the latest car bombing? We show a body bag, or an ambulance pulling away. The real images are too disturbing. Thus with child porn. I covered the trial of a kiddie porn merchant and could not show the images on the air. So we digitized the least objectionable ones. Do you get a clear picture? No. Do you want a clear picture? For most folks I would think not, for the truly curious it's not hard to find. Bottom line, criticizing Selling Innocence for showing sanitized porn is like attacking the media for showing sanitized war. Same deception, different genre.
One writer suggests it's inconceivable that someone sworn to help victims of web abuse would turn out to be a stalker. I would suggest they check the legal archives and begin to try to tally up the number of teachers, counselors, clergymen and boy scout leaders who have been convicted of child molestation. The point is those who prey on young powerless kids tend to seek positions of power in their lives. They earn the trust of these kids, which is why Mia would turn to James rather than a stranger at the police station.
I see Selling Innocence as a cautionary tale. Well told, and delivering a strong social message.
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