There may be a slight shiver of cynicism that runs down my spine whenever I hear about the latest cause celebre touted by Hollywood’s pretty faces. Sure, they bring necessary attention to important subjects, but all too often, once the golden spotlight has moved on from the cause, celebrity charities find themselves in a muddle. (See Madonna's scandal-plagued schools in Malawi as a case in point.)
So forgive me if I gave in to a bit of eye-rolling at the latest venture of Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. An advertisement from their “DNA” (for Demi’n’Ashton) Foundation launched Monday, part of a “well-meaning if muddled campaign,” as the blog Brandchannel called it, to raise awareness about sex trafficking.
Featuring Sean Penn making a grilled cheese sandwich and Jessica Biel talking about who is a real man, the commercial and others state that “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls.”
Cynicism aside, though, another news story bubbled up that was a sharp reminder of the need for attention — however fleeting — on the subject. A mother in Palm Beach, Fla., is suing a porn site, saying it featured her then-15-year-old in a film. The suit claims that porn actress Bieyanka Moore (no relation to Demi Moore) is, in fact, her runaway daughter and the Web site, Reality Kings, engaged in sexual battery, statutory rape and child pornography.
While the case may not be able to proceed — Reality Kings claims that Bieyanka Moore showed I.D. that stated she was 19, and it is unclear if Moore is in fact the runaway daughter — it offers a glimpse into the type of girls targeted by the DNA campaign.
The site says that between 100,000 and 300,000 children are enslaved and sold for sex each year in the United States.
“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.”