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Ashton Kutcher Launches Misguided Anti-Sex Trafficking Campaign

Ashton Kutcher Launches Misguided Anti-Sex Trafficking Campaign

Celebrities often throw their weight behind laudable causes, but sometimes, despite their influence, they’re not very effective.  Such is the case with Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore’s new campaign against child sex slavery, “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls,” which features entertaining PSAs that are shockingly devoid of any information about the issue.

Their website does have some ways that people can take action against child sex slavery, but this is not the focus of the campaign, which features a series of videos using celebrities like Sean Penn, Jamie Foxx, Drake, and Justin Timberlake, among others.  The clips are supposed to encourage other men to make advocacy videos which would, theoretically, stop child sex trafficking.  In reality, though, they’re just confusing.  An example, featuring Sean Penn, is below:

“Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” was, according to Kutcher, born after he watched a “Dateline” episode about child sex slavery in Cambodia.  “I was watching six and seven-year-old girls being raped for profit,” Kutcher explained. “I said to myself: I don’t want to live in a world where these things are happening and I’m not doing anything about them.”  Kutcher and Moore researched the issue and discovered that in the United States alone, between 100,000 and 300,000 girls are enslaved and sold for sex. 

Their concern about the issue is admirable; their execution is, however, less than elegant.  As Margaret Hartmann writes on Jezebel, “It’s not like guys thinking about soliciting child sex slaves are going to be dissauded by Ashton Kutcher challenging their masculinity in a jokey YouTube video.”

Helen A.S. Popkin adds on the Today show blog, “One might argue that faux-zany vignettes…are as effective at wiping out underage sex trafficking as posting the color of your bra in your Facebook status is at eradicating breast cancer.  The video campaign just costs way more money.”

If you’re interested in continuing to explore the issue, this website has some very helpful links, which will lead you to less high-profile organizations that are nevertheless doing much more effective work in ending the practice of child sex trafficking than “Real Men Don’t Sell Girls.”  Celebrities often bring helpful attention to these issues, especially when they blend humor and entertainment, but as others have pointed out, Kutcher and Moore’s approach is just too muddled.

 

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Photo from the Demi & Ashton Foundation.

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66 comments

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6:35AM PST on Dec 2, 2012

The biggest reason this flourishes is the acceptance. Guys "just like this stuff-- women don't understand." Lots of young guys are being indoctrinated into it. Pr0n culture perpetuates the acceptance. Pointing out that real men do NOT do this is important. This is hard for me to say, since I can't stand Ashton Kutcher, but I really like this campaign.

10:50AM PDT on Jul 5, 2011

WE SHOULD BE VERY PROUD THAT THEY SPOKE OUT ABOUT CHILDSEX SLAVERY, AND THAT WE BEGIN TO SEE THAT HUMAN SLAVERY IS WRONG, NO MATTER WHAT THE AGE, SEX OR PLACE OF ORIGIN.

ANOTHER THING...WHAT IS WRONG WITH HUMANITY ? WHY IS CHILD SEX SLAVERY SUCH A BIG BUSINESS? THERE IS SOMETHING SO SICK IN IT, SO ABUSIVE, SO INHUMANE.

WE SHOULD ALL DENOUNCE THIS VIOLENCE.

10:42PM PDT on Apr 29, 2011

Not sure about the video....

8:55AM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

I can't rave about the video. It's admirable that Krutcher is shedding some light on the issue. From all my reading, this problem is so big. And some very powerful and prominent people involved in these terrible crimes.

8:55AM PDT on Apr 20, 2011

Maybe they will get through to younger guys. I agree with JJ.

12:47PM PDT on Apr 19, 2011

I agree that I wouldn't get on their case too much for taking on such a huge and important issue. Good for them. But yeah, that video is just totally misguided. Yikes.

5:32PM PDT on Apr 18, 2011

I watched them on Piers Morgan I hope together we can stop Human trafficking..

3:44AM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Thanks for the article.

4:20PM PDT on Apr 16, 2011

I think you're off track, Amelia. I watched the Ashton & Demi interview by Piers Morgan and I thought it was most admirable effort on their part to bring this outrageously huge problem to our attention. Every little bit helps no matter how effective or not some people like yourself think it is. At least they're doing something! BTW, the slogan is: Real Men Don't Buy Girls! Not: Real Men Don't Sell Girls, altho, I have to admit, that's a good one too!

10:06AM PDT on Apr 16, 2011

"Such is the case with Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore's new campaign against child sex slavery, "Real Men Don't Buy Girls," which features entertaining PSAs that are shockingly devoid of any information about the issue."

It appears as though you might be the one who is misguided here Amelia. Do you really think "This is your brain: (Egg in frying pan) This is your brain on drugs" Was really all that effective against people PHYSICALLY HOOKED on heroin, cocaine, meth? No; absolutely but I don't hear anyone railing against it. Also totally untrue about marijuana which I smoked as a youth and there is not one damn thing wrong with my brain. Second and most important; the material put out by Ashton Kutcher & Co. is EXACTLY the kind of stuff that young people watch. So even if the impact is nil on the "dirty old men" society; it may perhaps be useful at stopping it as the generations evolve. Don't you think? Why are you on here dissing these people for trying their best no matter the effectiveness? If care2 is that desperate for writers, I can come up with better stuff than this!

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