Documentary on youth exploitation inspired by director’s day job

A black and white photo of Mia Golden holding a clipboard behind a camera
Mia Golden is the director of "Tug of War" and a youth counselor. Photo courtesy of Empress Avenue Media.
Lisa Cordasco - CHLY - NanaimoBC | 20-01-2021

A Victoria-based youth counselor is hoping to expose her city's dirty little secret in a documentary that's now in production.

“Tug of War” explores in disturbing detail the impact sexual exploitation of youth has on victims and their families in the Greater Victoria region. The documentary's director, Mia Golden, is also a counselor with the Mobile Youth Services Team in Victoria. She says she decided to make the film after conversations with friends and acquaintances convinced her the topic needed to be brought to light:

 

Golden says the internet has led to an explosion of opportunities to exploit young people, and easy access to pornography has normalized sexual violence among youth:

 

The film's interviews with survivors, service providers and parents show no family and no community is immune to youth exploitation. Golden says the title "Tug of War" reflects the reality of her day job:

 

Golden hopes "Tug of War" will give young people the tools to recognize what is not appropriate and when they're being targeted. She also hopes it will give parents the tools to prevent their child from becoming a victim. A short version of the documentary is set to debut at middle schools in Victoria this spring. The full documentary will follow this summer.