Film on child sex trade to be shown Wednesday |

Film on child sex trade to be shown Wednesday

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The recent arrest of suspects accused of running a child prostitution ring using motel rooms in Glenwood Springs was viewed by local victim advocates as a call to action.

A story in the Jan. 31 Post Independent reported the metro-Denver-based child prostitution ring operated in Denver, Lakewood, Boulder, Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs.

In the wake of that revelation, the Childhelp River Bridge agency is showing documentary film “The Playground,” about the child sex industry in the U.S.

In addition to showing the film, the event will feature a panel of experts, including psychotherapist and film producer Gayle Embrey of Carbondale, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and others who will talk about the trade and answer questions.

“We live in a resort area and on the I-70 corridor, which makes us, as a community, more susceptible to this kind of crime,” said Lee Martin, victim advocate with Childhelp River Bridge.

The film was made by documentary filmmaker Libby Spears, and co-produced by actors George Clooney and Grant Heslov, along with producer Steven Soderbergh.

“This is not the first incident [in this area],” Embrey said of the recent bust. She also assisted with the documentary film. “These traffickers are really predators, looking at homeless and poor kids.”

She said in her work as a therapist she has encountered girls who reported being enticed by men to have sex. One case involved young girls in Carbondale, she said.

“It was a situation I felt was a potential trafficking situation,” she recalled, although she could provide no specifics because of confidentiality rules.

“As an agency, we want to raise community awareness about child sexual assault,” Martin said. “In the last year alone we have seen over 100 cases come through our doors of alleged sexual assault on children ages 3-18. This topic, though difficult for all of us to comprehend, deserves our attention, because our children need us to be their voice.”

“The Playground” takes a look at the gritty underworld of child prostitution through the eyes of “Michelle,” one of the children caught up by the industry, who was sought out by the filmmaker.

The film covers a five-year period, during which Spears “unravels the gut-wrenching atrocities suffered by Michelle and other children like her, who are victims of the American sex trafficking industry,” as described in a summary provided by Childhelp River Bridge.

The documentary also interviews or uses information from police department vice officers, social workers and some of the pimps engaged in the trade, according to the summary.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.