Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore unveiled a new campaign today called Real Men, which targets the demand for child prostitution. This is exciting news, and we love Ashton and Demi's DNA Foundation.
We want to recognize, however, the alarming emergence of the idea that sex trafficking is only wrong if it affects children. "Real men protect, respect and care for girls," Demi said. "Real men don’t buy girls." This is, at the same time, both wonderful and misleading messaging. People purchasing children for sex are indeed committing a heinous crime that happens all too often. But Demi then made a comment that it is acceptable for men to buy sex from a woman who chooses prostitution. That is a myth. Real men must not buy sex from women, men, girls or boys and here's why:
Most women in prostitution did not choose it. Free choice implies that a prostituted person has been presented with a variety of options and simply picks the one she feels is in her best interest. This is rarely the case for those who end up in the sex trade. The most common reason women enter prostitution is to meet basic survival needs. Many others were coerced or abused by sex traffickers. One study indicates that 92% of women in prostitution would like to escape it immediately.
That being said, great awareness was raised today about sex trafficking. We especially like Real Men's focus on ending the demand for prostitution, which is the purpose of our End Demand Illinois campaign. If there were no demand, there would be no prostitution. Let's just make sure the Real Men campaign targets the trafficking of all people, regardless of their age. To find out how you can help, download our 10 Actions on 10 Issues guide for real, simple ways you can end sexual exploitation.
Here's the video of the press conference: