Three Birmingham youngsters are set for the big screen to launch a new campaign today to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE) amongst teenagers.
BAIT tells the compelling story of a model school student who is introduced by a girl in her class to a young man near her school who then grooms her. Enticed by gifts and flattery she thinks she has started a relationship with an older boy but her pictures are shared on social media and he encourages her to skip school and take drugs with horrific consequences. She then realises that she has been a victim of sexual exploitation and, with the support of her mum and friends, manages to get her life back on track. She then sees the man she thought was her boyfriend moving on to his next victim.
The film features young people from Birmingham schools and youth groups who were auditioned for the parts and they dedicated their own time to be involved in this film because they feel CSE is such an important issue for young people now.
Following the launch, the drama will be available as a free DVD and pack for use as a starting point for discussion in Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) lessons for 14-17 year olds. The pack directly explores the content of the film and where young people, families and professionals can turn to for support.
Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for children and family services, Cllr Brigid Jones, said: “Children and young people who have been sexually exploited and abused often tell us that if they had had more awareness of grooming and child sexual exploitation they could have recognised what was happening to them far earlier.
“This hard hitting drama forms part of a concerted campaign by the council to develop new tools to educate, raise awareness and build resilience to child sexual exploitation. It was developed through a series of focus groups and discussions with young people, many of whom appear in the film.
“Although the young people in this film are acting, this drama reflects those discussions. I hope that it will connect with young people so that we can help them to arm themselves with the knowledge that they need.”
Nakiece Brade, who plays the central character, added: “ I am so pleased I was given the opportunity to get involved in this project because CSE is such an important issue. Young people can sometimes confuse attention for genuine friendship or love. I hope this film will help them to question what might be happening to them and speak to someone they can trust and get help”.
The project was funded by Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Safeguarding Children’s Board and the Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust. The film can also be made available to other local authorities as this film is relevant to any area – not just Birmingham.
Media Contact: Janet Priestley, Head of Press and PR 0121 303 3531.
Notes to Editors
- The thirty minute drama was commissioned by Birmingham City Council and developed through a series of discussions and focus groups with young people, assistant head teachers and Safeguarding leads from Birmingham City Council, Barnardos, Children’s Society and the West Midlands Police. These were led by drama and psychology company, Recre8, in association with Pretty Hate Productions and Daniel Alexander films. It has the full support of the Birmingham Safeguarding Children’s Board. Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust, West Midlands Police and local schools involved in the project.
- Nakiece Brade is 21 and is studying at the Birmingham School of Acting. She is a peer mentor and has worked with Recre8 and Pretty Hate Productions on other projects and was a natural choice for the central role in this film. She has gained a great deal from helping to address this issue and the experience has also supported her studies and development as an actress and theatre practitioner/facilitator. She was cast during a ‘closed audition’ which was aimed at individuals with a particular skill set and which were important in order to ensure there were no safeguarding concerns.
- Georgia Neath is 18. This is her first experience of acting on screen. She hopes the film will help many young people as she feels a lot of hard work went into it. She took part in open auditions in Digbeth and was identified as having the skill set to perform in a central role.
- Curtis ‘I.K.’ Wright is 23 and is a peer mentor for Recre8. He loves the change he is able to make to communities and feels the whole experience has changed him for the better.
- Recre8 was founded in 2005 by sisters Anulka Varley-Griffin and Daniela Varley with an aim of creatively reducing offending behaviour amongst young people who would not have necessarily been introduced to the arts.
- Matthew R. Ford formed Pretty Hate Productions in 2011 to create, develop and produce original ideas in the medium of film, theatre and music.