'Dreamcatcher' documentary follows former sex worker back to the streets: TRFN

Sun Feb 8, 2015 4:32pm EST
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By Maria Caspani

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The documentary film "Dreamcatcher" takes former sex worker Brenda Myers-Powell back to streets of Chicago where her last client nearly killed her.

Myers-Powell had walked the city's streets for many years until a client beat her so furiously that she tried to escape from his car and, as her clothes got stuck in the door, he dragged her for six blocks, scraping the skin off of her face.

Since then, she has dedicated nearly two decades to getting women and girls like her off the street.

Her past filled with abuse, she was shot five times and stabbed 13 times during her years as a sex worker, Myers-Powell told an audience at the Athena Film Festival in New York, after a screening of the film by British director Kim Longinotto.

"I come from everything these women come from...It's like I'm helping myself all over again," she said.

The stories of the women and girls in "Dreamcatcher" shine a light not only on prostitution and human trafficking in the United States but also on a justice system that focuses more on punishment than rehabilitation.

Some of the women Myers-Powell tries to help are girls in their early teens who have been abused throughout their short lives, often by family members, and have ended up in the hands of a pimp and hooked on drugs.

"You're dressed up, you make it to whatever you need to make it to, but they don't know how you feel on the inside," Myers-Powell said in the film.   Continued...