Actors Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore have been involved in their own campaign to stop human trafficking. The Demi and Ashton Foundation (DNA) is a non-profit organization which is meant to create awareness and rehabilitate victims.
Some Facts from the Website
More people are slaves today than ever before and the numbers are soaring. Men, women and children are enslaved for many purposes including sex, pornography, forced labor and indentured servitude. Among slaves, children are the most vulnerable and their rights are the least recognized.
Today, more than twelve million people worldwide are enslaved. Two million children are bought and sold in the global commercial sex trade. In just the United States, between 100,000 and 300,000 children are enslaved and sold for sex. The sex slavery industry has become an increasingly important revenue source for organized crime because each young girl can earn between $150,000 and $200,000 each year for her pimp.
Many Americans don’t realize that thousands of children are forced into domestic sex slavery each year and that the average age of entry is 13 years old. The majority of American victims of commercial sexual exploitation tend to be runaway youth who live on the street, often who have left homes where they were abused or abandoned. Pimps prey on their vulnerability. These girls are our neighbors, our friends, our sisters and our daughters.
For the most part, the justice system currently punishes girls for their involvement in human sex slavery, rather than prosecuting the men who pimp and purchase them. This is an especially pressing issue, because the internet provides an easy venue for the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Sex industry internet sites are popular and highly profitable. This new development, combined with the lack of a culture of crime and punishment for selling girls, means that it is less risky and more profitable to traffic girls than to sell illegal drugs.
Did you know that...
- 12.3 million people are enslaved today worldwide
- In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation eradicating slavery, yet more than one million people are enslaved in the U.S. today.
- Two million children are bought and sold in the global commercial sex trade
- The average age of entry into commercial sex slavery in the United States is 13 years old
- The global sex slavery market generates $32 billion in profits each year
- Every 10 minutes, a woman or child is trafficked into the United States for forced labor
- Most “johns” are quite ordinary: 70-90% are married, and most are employed with no criminal record
- 76% of transactions for sex with underage girls are conducted via the internet
- The U.S. government spends 300 times more money per year to fight drug trafficking than it does to fight human trafficking
- Approximately 55% of girls living on the streets in the United States engage in commercial sex slavery. Girls from middle and upper class neighborhoods are also at risk
The website suggests three ways to make a difference..
1) Make a Real Man video to help spread the word
2) Stop traffic over the internet
- Go onto Craigslist and “REPORT” any suspicious activity using flags: www.craigslist.org/about/help/flags_and_community_moderation.
- Do the same on Backpage by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook by using their “Report”button www.facebook.com/help/?faq=13243.
- And to report any other type of child sexual exploitation, report it to the National Center’s cyber tip-line at www.cybertipline.com. Buyers often stop when they know they are being watched
The DNA campain asks, "Are You A Real Man?" I take issue with this as it contributes to the on going idea that there is such a thing as a real man or real woman. It comes down to the issue of gender roles and usually we find stereotypes when it comes to this topic.
My guess is that the angle here is for men to read this question and respond by wanting to preserve their manhood.
As a feminist I've seen social media make statements like, "real men are feminists," and "real men cry." Even though the sentiments behind these statements are well intended I think they do more harm then good.
Feminists, psychologists, scientists and more have been scratching heads about what it is that makes a man and what it is that makes a woman. Everyone has a their own opinion and mine is that although there may be some differences many are socially influenced. That's the simple answer.
The nature vs. nurture argument is a tough one and while we search for answers to what makes a man and woman we now are asking ourselves what makes a "real" man and woman.
If a man engages in human trafficking I will not look at that individual and think to myself, "you are not a real man". I will view that person as perverse and someone who lacks heart, compassion, basic sensibility and a healthy conscience. I suppose I could go on and on but I would not say that he is not a real man. People are people whether they do good or bad things.