With the recent outpouring of awareness about the sex trafficking of minors within the United States -- and with the closing of Craigslist's highly-controversial Adult Services section -- advocacy groups continue to ban together to protect victims and ultimately abolish this crime.
Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher's DNA Foundation is among the many advocacy groups bringing awareness to the issue. Focusing on demand, the couple introduced the "Real Men Don't Buy Girls" campaign at the Clinton Global Initiative held on Sept. 23 in New York. Geared toward stifling the demand for child pornography and the exploitation of child sex slaves, the message of this campaign is simple: Real men do not harm young girls -- they protect them.
Sadly, research reveals the reverse is many times the reality.
Women's Funding Network, in partnership with A Future. Not A Past. in Georgia, commissioned an independent research firm to define the face of men who purchase sex from girls. In Georgia alone, research revealed suburban males, ages 30-39, make up 44 percent of the 28,000 males who buy young girls for sex during one year. Additionally, 47 percent of all men studied were willing to proceed with a sex transaction involving an adolescent girl even after three separate warnings indicating the girl's age.
Domestic minor sex trafficking is equal to basic economics: demand fuels supply. Until we lessen the staggering demand, the number of commercially sexually exploited girls will continue to rise. We are, however, beginning to take steps in the right direction.
Popular online outlets for these transactions such as Craigslist have closed. Advocates, like Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, have enlisted technology industry leaders Twitter and Microsoft to fight rising demand online. Congress is poised to authorize HR 5575, a bill granting victims services and funding for local law enforcement training to apprehend criminals who drive demand. Yes, we see change beginning to take place -- but more is needed.
Women's Funding Network thanks the DNA Foundation for calling attention to the issue of domestic minor sex trafficking in the United States by targeting demand through "Real Men Don't Buy Girls." Together we stand in refusing to tolerate adult men who purchase sex from adolescents.