Thailand, famous for its dreamy beaches and ancient temples, is also known for its sexual tourism, a problem whose momentum and popularity continues to increase. “Underage”, shortlisted in the Asian Short Film Awards ScreenSingapore 2011, is a documentary that focuses on young boys forced to prostitute their bodies, their selves and their childhood in order to survive.
Dedicating their documentary to hopes and dreams, directors Danny Linsner and Ohm Phanphiroj not only aim to expose childhood sexual exploitation in Thailand, but also to reveal the identity of the exploited boys.Through their lens these boys are humanized. We are introduced to several boys who must sell their body in order to earn a living. Not only are their faces, names, age and background unveiled, but also their fears and happiness. The tears they shed when telling of their saddest memory is contrasted with the smiles they have when speaking of their future goals and aspirations. The directors show the boys’ emotions and desires in order to expose the human side of what otherwise could be portrayed as simply objectified beings. Instead, the documentary reveals the global problem of sexual exploitation by individualizing those most affected by it and asking the viewer to bring to the light the identities of those most affected by such practice; the boys.