myrna balk, artist
etchings, woodcuts, and monoprints sculpture photographs artist statement and bio fiber arts

Empty Playgrounds
If it were not for demand the children would be in the playgrounds.

from The Demand Factor: Buying Despair
Woodcuts, etchings, and collages by Myrna Balk

The Demand Factor

"Empty Playground" - Drypoint monotype inking 10" x 10"
"Empty Playground"
Drypoint monotype inking
10" x 10"
"Forgotten Girls" - Etching 6" x 9"
"Many Youth "
Etching 6" x 9"

The San Francisco Project, a coalition to end the exploitation of kids, reports:

  • The city is home to so many men demanding sex from girls that there are 3,000 prostituted children.
  • In a survey of 7,000 local high school-age girls, 20 percent admitted to having traded sex for food, shelter or clothing.

More than 100 minors were arrested each year for prostitution in San Francisco. Fewer men were arrested. After months of study, the group recommended creating a residential and treatment program for teenage girls who are sold for sex.

Many (an estimated 85%) who were forced into the business were sexually abused at home. Norma Hotaling, a former prostitute who founded SAGE, says, "You have children who, through very important developmental times in their lives, have been very isolated, tortured, and brainwashed. Their ability to create intimate relationships is nonexistent."

Dr. Sandra Hernandez, chief executive officer of the San Francisco Foundation said, "It was important to us to realize that this was happening right here in our shopping malls, right here in our neighborhoods. These are kids who are potentially friends of our's happening all across the city, not just the Tenderloin. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not happening."

Source: San Francisco Chronicle: Apr. 27 2004, Feedback/FAQ, page B2. Suzanne Herel, staff writer.


contact Myrna Balk for permission to reprint
June 8, 2008
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