The children stare at the camera and address a father figure they're never likely to meet. These are the orphaned children who populate the city of Angeles in the Philippines, and their stories are told in the new documentary Fallen Angels produced by RT Docs.
Most of these young children share a common origin; they were conceived as a result of the region's thriving sex trade. Within the alluring concrete and neon facade of a bustling street, a large sex worker population gathers to greet new arrivals to the city. Men from all over the world flock to the Philippines for the promise of rampant and readily available sex. By the time these men leave to return home, many of them have left behind their offspring.
The children these men abandon dream of becoming doctors and superstar actresses, but their situation predisposes them to a poverty-stricken existence defined by limited life choices. Their mothers have dreams of their own - white weddings and a lifetime spent in the care of a man they love - but their daily lives are spent instead on providing for their children in any way they can both financially and emotionally. It becomes more difficult for them to make ends meet as they grow older and are pushed out of a sex trade that values youth above all else.
In one instance profiled in the film, a male tourist owns up to his responsibility, falls in love with the woman he impregnated and does his part to help raise the child. But this is by far an exception to the stark reality facing most of the players in this painfully sad setting.
The film follows these young mothers through the streets and hotels of the city as they woo an endless barrage of potential clients, and gives voice to their feelings of inadequacy and regret as they struggle to make a home for their children. Fallen Angels examines the sex trade from a vantage point not often considered, and produces a deeply personal and compassionate portrait of an epidemic that has reshaped an entire region of the world.