Thursday, September 23, 2010

Demi and Ashton's Real Men Campaign

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:

Watch live streaming video from cgi_press at


  1. Studies have shown between 75% to 95% of sex workers were victims of sexual abuse during their childhood. If an 8 year old is conditioned to engage in sex for a candy bar, it’s only logical that they would grow up to engage in sex for money. Knowing what we know, why do we treat sex workers as criminals?

  2. Thanks Lili for your thoughts.

    We believe that the only way to end the epidemic of abuse that prostitution creates is to educate and hold accountable the people who purchase sex. You might appreciate Melissa Farley's "Bad for the Body, Bad for the Heart", which outlines the harms of prostitution.

  3. 75%-95% abused during their childhood? That's a 20% margin of error. Doesn't anyone read these statistics and think that they're strange? I was a sex worker for 6 years and had a great childhood. I also chose that line of work because I was tired of being an office lackey and working for a jerk of a boss. My clients (for the most part) treated me like a queen in comparison. In no other line of work have I ever had customers (or bosses) treat me as well or make me feel so appreciated.

  4. The first step to disrupting the forced prostitution of women, men, & children -which many people seem to not understand- is to make it LEGAL. Enforce standards- no one under the age of 18, mandatory health screenings, and safe places to engage in this activity.
    By making prostitution legal, you strip away the shadows it currently hides in. The shadows that hide the rape of children for money. If there is a legal, safe alternative, how many pimps do you think can stay in business? If it is taxed, and subject to screenings from the government- OSHA, Dept of labor, etc- there is less likelihood of being able to hide underage children in such a place or a practice.
    Removing the stigma of the sex-worker, especially those who come to the profession by choice, will help make it possible for those who want to leave the profession.
    Not everyone who uses prostitutes will voluntarily stay away from them- crudely put or not- people want to get their rocks off, and if they have to pay for it to do so, they will.
    If we REALLY wanna do something about child prostitution, we have to be realistic and open our eyes. Stop trying to force our own moral "superiority" on those who don't agree with our point of view.
    I say it should be a viable choice for ADULTS who would choose to either work or patronize the sex industry, & it should be safe for them to do so.
    I don't tell people what they are allowed to do with their own bodies- if they are an adult, they can decide for themselves.
    I believe it is every adult's right, and responsibility to stand up against child prostitution and enslavement.

  5. Everyone: thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. We value the perspectives of all people in the sex trade and in the movement to end human trafficking. Everyone’s experiences are different and add to the conversation. A few thoughts from CAASE’s perspective:

    f-kiss: I’m relieved that you are safe and did not experienced abuse in the sex trade. So many others, unfortunately, have not had the same experience. Jody Raphael’s study Sisters Speak Out describes the violence and substance abuse that many women in prostitution have faced. Violence is not the exception, it’s the rule for most women living in prostitution. The percentages we used above encompass a number of different studies, thus the wide range. I invite you to read more from Jody’s study:

    lezziegoddess: Thanks for your response and for your passionate concern for exploited children. I think we are all fighting to make sure that children are no longer exploited in the sex trade. We do not believe, however, that legalizing prostitution would curb child sex trafficking—in places where prostitution is legal, rates of trafficking only increase.
    As shown in places like Amsterdam and certain counties of Nevada, legalizing prostitution usually results in an increase in demand, as buying sex in these
    places is seen as a normal and encouraged activity. Tragically, this rise in demand then fuels an increase in human trafficking. To meet the new demand, pimps and traffickers force and coerce more women and girls into prostitution. Reports from countries that have legalized prostitution, such as the Netherlands and Germany have shown dramatic increases in the number of sex trafficking victims, especially child victims, into those countries.

    We invite you to visit to learn more.

    -Kristin Claes, communications manager for CAASE