Dark Day Light On

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Dark Day Light On enters the opaque world of underage prostitution. The film connects with a young woman who experiences what she believes to be truth and love. What is the truth?

"I want to forget. I want to imagine. I want to dream."




Sheila discovered at a young age that she was different from other girls. After growing up as a shy, awkward child who's parents divorced early on, she found that her gift of giving attention lead to receiving it. Her mother's fixation on men and alcohol, led Sheila to choose a life of darkness. Now an underage, in-call prostitute, who self medicates with marijuana, Sheila reveals her truth of longing for the light.  

Director's Statement

"In 2010, I joined an upper level self defense team. Our contract required us to do community service or another form of outreach. I started volunteering at an orphanage for underage prostitutes. While there I found myself connecting with a diverse community of sexually exploited women. This film is where my eyes have glanced, my ears have danced and my soul has echoed." - Dustin James Leighton



Human trafficking and child sexual exploitation are often viewed as overseas problems. However, these nightmares exist throughout the United States for hundreds of thousands of minors. The average age of entry for children who are victims of child sex trafficking in our country is 13 years old.

What is child sex trafficking?

  •  Child sex trafficking is any situation in which a child under the age of 18  is used for commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion.
  • Street solicitation, internet solicitation, phone or internet sex chats, stripping, massage parlors, pornography, escort services in which minors are involved are all forms of child sex trafficking.
  • Survival sex, in which sex is traded for basic commodities such as food, shelter, or protection is common among victims.

Who are the victims of Child Sex Trafficking

  • Nearly all victims have had dysfunctional homes with various kinds of abuse.
  • 70-90% of the child victims were sexually abused prior to being trafficked.
  • The average age of girls entering into child sex trafficking is 13.
  • Runaways are very vulnerable to trafficking. (2.8 million minors annually run from home) and one of three are picked up by pimps within 48 hours.

How do the children get caught up in prostitution?

  • Romeo pimps, groom the victims through gifts and promises of being a ‘daddy’ or boyfriend and the victim believes she is in love with him.
  • Occasionally, a child is abducted by strangers, but most of the time, the perpetrator is someone known to the child.
  • Gorilla pimps will beat the victims, perhaps have them gang-raped by his friends, and may resort to drugging the victims to bring compliance.
  • In gangs, the initiation requirement often is to be “jumped in” or gang-raped by the gang members.
  • Low self-esteem and intense need for love and acceptance are typical characteristics of victims, making the vulnerable to perpetrators
  • Once the cycle is started, it is hard for the victims to get out on their own due to threats from the pimps, their own fear and shame, and beliefs that they are worthless.

What does the process of recovery look like for the children?

  • Physical needs include treatment for sexually transmitted illnesses such as STDs, AIDS, and Hepatitis; dysfunctions of the reproductive organs; lowered immune systems leading to frequent and recurring aliments and infections; possible broken bones from beatings; and stress induced illnesses such as fibromyalgia, cancers and asthma.
  • Emotional/mental health needs include treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; depression; personality disorders; rage; aggression; suicidal ideations; hopelessness; self-injury; addictions; lack of trust; Stockholm Syndrome; halted development at age of first abuse; inability to develop healthy relationships; loss of ability to feel or think for oneself; and lack of coping skills
  • Social needs include understanding healthy relationships; social interaction, knowing how to express feelings and needs appropriately; communication skills;  knowing how to ask for assistance; and accountability for personal actions;
  • Educational needs include catching up to grade level as many of the children have had their education disrupted.
  • Skill development is needed in the areas of financial literacy and competence for independent living; finding and utilizing everyday resources;  and employment skills.
No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.
— Albert Einstein