Ashton Kutcher Helped Promote a Bogus Sex Trafficking Claim. Will We Ever Shake It?


25 million adults and children suffering from labor and sex trafficking all over the world. The FBI says that around 300,00 children could be at risk. Even 1 woman or 1 child trafficked is too many. But there are thousands and thousands and thousands. How many children are sex trafficked every year in the United States? The numbers repeated by politicians in the media are almost never representative of the truth. That’s because studying this population presents an enormous challenge for researchers. When underage people are involved in the sex trade in any way, everyone around them is doing anything they can to conceal what’s happening. Even so, one statistic has permeated the anti child-sex trafficking movement. It was first widely circulated in 2011, when activists were trying to build a case against Backpage.com, the online classified site which is now the focus of an upcoming criminal trial. It was around this time that a claim reappeared in the media that 100,000 to 300,000 underage people were sex trafficked each year in the United States. It turns out that claim was bogus. Still the number was popularized, by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, in their Real Men Don’t Buy Sex campaign. There are more slaves in the world today, then ever before in human history. It’s happening in the United States, there’s between 100 and 300 thousand child sex slaves in the United States today. The number ran everywhere. It ran in the New York Times, it ran in USA Today, in CNN. Every damn media outlet took and accepted this without ever looking at the source material. That Michael Lacey a former owner of Village Voice media which owned Backpage.com at the time. A cover story in the Village Voice revealed that the 100,000 to 300,000 number that was being talked about was being taken out of context. I just had my writer specifically look at this University of Pennsylvania story. That’s where this 100,000-300,000 number comes from his writers traced it back to a 2001 journal article estimating that there were 100,000-300,000 children deemed at risk for sexual exploitation in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, not just the United States, as Kutcher and others had claimed. That would be 6,000 underage children being sex trafficked in America’s 50 largest cities. It was totally junk science. The Voice also found out that the study’s methodology was flawed, because it’s figure weren’t based on actual cases. The authors relied on guesses as to who might end up a sex trafficking victim. And the data was more than 12 years out of date by the time Kutcher and others were citing it. Even the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire advised journalists and researchers in 2008 not to cite this study, saying scientifically credible estimates do not exist. The study’s lead authors disavowed it as well. After this story appeared in the Village Voice criticizing Kutcher’s activism, Kutcher took to Twitter calling on advertisers to stop buying ads in the Village Voice. It’s like a bar fight, you know? And you just can’t see where the next idiot is going to come from, you just know that they’re coming, okay? And it’s like a bar fight that never ends. The 100,000-300,000 number still pops up in online stories and newspaper op-eds, and is often attributed to dated government publications. Though as the junk science number still gets cited, a world where we truly understand the reality of all the types of people that make up the sex trade still escapes us. For more, click here for the full documentary: The War on Backpage.com is a War on Sex Workers And subscribe to Reason for more content.




Comments
  1. I wish celebrities would stay out of political topics, or REALLY do their research — from all sides. I think they have good intentions but almost always botch it completely.

  2. But do the ends justify the means? Even if it's just 10,000, or 1,000, that's way too much. Does this misinformation spreading around create more money, programs, help to fight this issue?

  3. I mean I've never seen anyone being trafficked at all let alone a child. How big of a problem could it possibly be if it's so invisible?

  4. Thank you for covering this. It's both absurd and very depressing that the overblown claims on sex trafficking have not been labeled fake news. It's as bad or worse than reefer madness.

  5. The preeminent number of real slaves are the ones who are oblivious prisoners of their own flawed thinking and willful gullibility.

  6. Sex workers are not the same as sex trafficking victims. They are usually conflated by people who oppose sex work (often certain so-called "feminists" and Christian groups). Oh, also, in this case, stupid celebrities.

  7. To date, the earliest mention of the 300,000 alleged trafficking victims annually, was found by sex worker activist Domina Elle, she found it in a 1911 anti prostitution propaganda book titled 'Horrors of white slavery, the mighty crusade to protect the purity of our homes'. This book was published around the time of the passing of the Mann Act. Page 15: https://archive.org/details/horrorsofwhitesl00clif/page/16

    This is an example of a century old woozle effect, which is evidence by citation. The anti prostitutionists have had the same rhetoric for over 100 years. Their concept of 'end demand' is also found in this same book from 1911.

    Edit: To understand the anti prostitution movement in America, the long history of anti prostitutionism should be brought into the equation. The fact that the 300,000 number was being thrown around as early as over a hundred years ago, really says something about the 'data' and rhetoric of anti prostitutionists. It is more ridiculous than most know. An excellent book on the topic is 'Policing Sexuality'. It can be purchased at a variety of outlets. It is a must read: https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674368118

  8. Typical feminist "statistics". Distort the narrative until the fiction becomes believed by enough people that they push your narrative for you.

    Go to google trends and look at the use of the word prostitution over the last 15 years compared with the term sex trafficking. The former on a steady decline, the latter on a steady rise until finally last year the lines cross. First "prostitution" was replaced by the progressive "sex work", but of course "sex work" means the woman selling has agency, can't have that, replace it with sex "trafficking", poof, female agency vanishes. Too soft a term? Use the term rising fastest among these neopuritanical leftist authoritarians now…. SLAVERY! Done. Any questions from skeptical media disappear instantly, you get whatever you want from congress immediately.

  9. Important video with important information!
    But what's with the use of the music that is in every "creepypasta reading" video ever made?😳

  10. While I would tend to believe the number is inflated purely because statistics usually are either by bad data gathering or agendas, I have a problem with the source of the rejection is the former owner of the entity being questioned.

  11. I feel like Demi kinda pushed Ashton to do the Libtard shit. Reason why I say that is because ever since they divorced he's been acting more conservative.

  12. Kutcher is a certified moron, Why would anyone listen to him? Because of hair? Like Trudeau? Is that all it takes ladies?

  13. Rich celebrities with too much time on their hands taking up bogus causes. Couple that with some of the population's distaste towards prostitution, and you end up with the stupid "sex trafficking" moral panic we've been having for years now.

    Remember, fellas: sex shouldn't be paid for with cash, but by taking her to dinner, buying her gifts, listening to her problems, and dealing with whatever bullshit she throws at you!

  14. What's your point here? The problem exists and is one of the most horrendous crimes against humanity. Consequentially, you have done nothing in the way of creating greater clarity relating to the matter. Disgusting.

  15. You mean a dopey Hollywood person spread something they heard without ever checking to see if it was true and got arrogant and aggressive when corrected? Say it ain't so.

  16. I'm sure the Libertarian Party's response will be to legalize prostitution and lower the age of consent to 13, because "rules are evil, man!" smokes more weed

  17. fun fact: the people promoting underage (ANY AGE) SEX TRAFFICKING in this story are the purveyors of Pornographic Homosexuality…of course, any claim against your interests would be deemed..BOGUS.

  18. This reminds me of pizzagate.
    How conspiracy theories are more for scandal and attention then it is to know any kind of truth.

  19. Sex trafficking is still happening across the globe and your mad that the numbers don't match? Why not be mad about the sex trafficking that is still happening daily? Unsubscribed because this is propaganda programming for the masses and useless.

  20. The owner of Backpage is a creep. I think Kutcher has a good heart and wants justice for the children. Doesn't matter to me if his numbers are off. I don't want to hear the owner of Backpage tell me with anger that sex trafficking statistics are overblown.

  21. Real men don't listen to celebrities, people who are hired for their ability to be fake, not for their brilliant minds. Ashton needs to stay in his lane.

  22. This is absurd. "We don't have the actual numbers on something that's incredibly difficult to accurately estimate, therefore the problem doesn't really exist. It's all a figment of your imagination" says the guy running the site in question.

  23. A lot of people are taking things the wrong way. So maybe it is best that both police and adult sex workers should work together.

  24. How many knew about the Manhattan project when it was happening?
    I tend to believe that this is worse than people want to admit.
    Time will tell.
    Ashton who?

  25. So instead of covering anything related to the Jeffery Epstein case, or the massive amounts of connections he has with political elites and leaders around the world in what could be the biggest story ever concerning child sex trafficking and pedophilia, Reason TV decides it’s better to downplay the problem that could very well be an international conspiracy by the elites to literally rape and enslave children? The choices this organization makes in how to represent libertarian ideology seriously make me sick. This is why we will never succeed politically.

  26. Probably a plant to help give the government more control over the people. Hollywood is infested with domestic enemies.

  27. I don't care if it's 1000 to 3000, at least someone talked about it. The number may be bogus, but evil got scared there for a second.

  28. One part is true, but I think you are missing the point. It has been, and still is a very hard thing to prove in court due to regulations, and incompetence in law enforcement. According to this ABC Article there is roughly 800,000 missing children in America each year. Does this mean they are all sex trafficked? No, but I would wager that a good number is if those numbers are true then about 1/8th + of missing children ends up as trafficked, and that's a believable number to me. https://abcnews.go.com/US/missing-children-america-unsolved-cases/story?id=19126967

  29. It doesn't matter what the number is, the situation exists and it's terrible. He should bring awareness. He isn't purposely duping anyone, it's an issue that he's passionate about. So unless you can prove that no trafficking exists, your strawman about the official number, is moot. We aren't talking about 12 confirmed trafficking cases vs an inflated 2,500,000 gov statistic. There's probably at least 50 trafficking cases an hour, just at our southern border alone. Also, his wife is from the Ukraine, and that region is known for being a central hub for trafficking!

  30. The fact is there ARE children being trafficed and Kutcher is bringing it to every ones attention. So what if the number's are wrong, are you going to demonize him for caring.

  31. I know about those "magic" numbers:
    In out internal war against communists n Guatemala there was about ~45K victims in a 36+ years.
    What the REDS did in the "peace talks"? They said that the deaths were about 200K+ mostly attributed to the military forces.
    Whatever is good for the narrative does not need to be true, remember what AOC said:
    "morally correct even if is FACTUALLY INCORRECT", right?

  32. we know from government reports from Mexico and Honduras that they are being kidnapped and brought to the US border. We're just disputing the number.

  33. Why does the precise number matter so much? Sex trafficking is bad no matter the number. Sure its good to be precisely correct, but the number being 100,000 or 1,000 doesn't make sex trafficking any more or less bad.

  34. Does it really matter if it’s 100,000 or 10,000 or 1,000? We know it happens and it’s wrong. Seems like a strange stat to take umbrage with.

  35. As with most things in public discourse, facts and reason are drowned out by the same idiots who claim their 'science' is the one true science.

  36. IMHO: Hollywood types in general try to find some cause to make themselves seem more relevant and gain more positive attention. It has nothing to do with truth and facts, and everything to do with their precious fee-fees. They're (again, in general) utter narcissists, who like to bask in the glow of moral superiority.

  37. Propaganda works. Too many people believe what they hear, read, or watch on television. Too many people echo what they hear. Like gossip, they fail to use common sense or simple research before echoing falsehoods. It is right to call them out publicly as that is the only way we can educate people to stop, verify, and continue. Or, better yet, shut up if they are not certain. Also, there is a big difference between a slip up when someone mispoke and repeating the same falsehood over and over.

  38. What’s the real Reason for this video? To justify freeing child molester / sex trafficking demon Jeffrey Epstein! People are immoral and mentally ill.

  39. So what im hearing is that because it may be an exaggerated number, y'all don't care about the children who ARE trafficked. Even if it's a smaller number, even one child in the sex trade is unacceptable. Children can't consent to sex. I couldn't care less about the sex industry falling apart if it means that no child has to be sold into sexual slavery ever again. Seriously fuck y'all. Apparently having the ability to buy sex is more important to y'all than making sure that people stay safe and that no one is being raped

  40. SJW's (aka Tofu Warriors) suck; but celebrity SJW's are absolutely the worst. Fuck you Marlon Brando for starting the celebtard SJW craze.

  41. Losing My Mind
    Good job shutting down backpage. I wonder if they’re going to arrest the CEO of Twitter and other social networking sites for hosting escort ads. There are literally thousands upon thousands of escort ads all over twitter. Same with instagram, Facebook and yourube.

    Below are just a cpl of examples. Literally took me less than two mins to find.

    https://www.eviemagazine.com/post/the-rise-of-instagram-prostitution/

    https://twitter.com/exoticjaydalee?lang=en

    https://m.youtube.com/results?search_query=escort+agency&sp=EgIQAg%253D%253D

    https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006937626638

    https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100032834689807

    https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013270508542

    Btw backpage has since been replaced by the following.

    Cityxguide
    Skipthegames
    Adulsearch
    Eroticmonkey
    Yesbackpage
    Bedpage
    Megapersonals

    And many many others that have since taken backpages place. Ads literally move faster than the stock market ticker on many of those websites. Most of them are not based in the US. so probably not as likely to work with local law enforcement the way backpage did.

    But yes. Lets lock up the owners of one website and pretend we made a difference so we can all feel better about ourselves.

    Now we should lock up the owner of the company that hosted the backpage website and maybe the guy that sold him the car he uses to get back and forth to the office. We’ll call it witch hunt Wednesday Fun fun.

  42. Strange. What is your goal here? All the people commenting are they as rabid in pointing out inconsistencies with climate data? How fucking weird

  43. this is why actors, comedians, etc weren't allowed in public events in past rempires… because they are fucking mentally ill and are always acting….

  44. Are we seriously going to take the word of backpage?? No. That's ridiculous. Of course they're gonna say the number is lower. They're behind it!! It is also not a coincidence that this has appeared at the time of the Jeffrey Epstein murder. Sheep.

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