Human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors is an epidemic. While this issue is often diluted by political jockeying, there was a moment in 2017 where it seemed the tides were shifting. Ashton Kutcher, the slap-stick comedian and star of Punk’d and That 70’s Show testified to Congress about the need to combat child sex trafficking and exploitation. To his credit, this speech was a patriotic, non-partisan plea that beseeched our legislators to take on an issue that is a stain on America’s reputation. His heartfelt concern begs the question of why Kutcher has stayed silent on the unmitigated disaster unfolding at the southern border under President Biden’s watch.
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Before understanding why Ashton Kutcher finds himself in the Hollywood Hypocrisy beat, one must understand exactly how this crisis relates to human trafficking. According to Human Trafficking Search – “Since Mexico is the most frequent source country for foreign nationals identified through the National Human Trafficking Hotline, data suggest that the nexus of human smuggling and human trafficking, though possibly less than ten percent of cases, does center around the southern border.” With border crossings at a 20-year high, trafficking will surely increase in lockstep, especially considering that these migrants are being shipped all over the country. Many of these women and children will disappear into the streets of the US and be sold off, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
While the media on the right side of politics attempts to frame the issue at the border as “Build the wall and everything will be fine,” those on the left side frame their coverage primarily as “Kids in cages should make you outraged… especially because of Trump.” Both approaches are reductive, unhelpful and ignore the core issue of sexual exploitation that Ashton so eloquently spoke of in his testimony – “The right to pursue happiness is stripped away. It is raped. It’s abused. It’s taken by force, fraud or coercion. It is sold for the momentary happiness of another.” As he choked back tears, he recounted the video evidence he watched showing young girls being sexually exploited in the United States.
However, the political climate of today takes the urgency of this issue and loses itself in clickbait outrage. This is exemplified perfectly by past examples such as the deceptive propaganda from Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio Cortez kneeling at a chainlink fence at the border in all white looking dismayed while she then votes for decreased border security and blanket citizenship to illegal aliens. It’s also shown in the lack of legislation offered by those on the right. They are apparently less concerned with the tragic results of our illegal crossings (increased numbers in sexual exploitation and kids in cages) while primarily focusing on the main cause (lack of border security). For the right, #BuildTheWall has become a trope more than a policy platform. Most pundits on cable news only speak to the issues of citizenship and voting, not the exploitation of the coyotes trading in people.
Neither side adequately accounts for what we are to do as a nation with the kids we free from human trafficking or are simply unattended minors. Obama’s DACA policy went too far in blanketed amnesty, contends the right. While Trump sought to compromise with congressional Democrats during his time in office on this issue, he was rebuffed at every turn because the wall was racist, contended the left. In the meantime, the problem raged on and American finds itself with a dire situation in need of immediate action.
BREAKING: The Biden administration announces 834 migrant children were encountered at the southern border on Wednesday. Each child was alone and without a parent or guardian.
That's the highest daily number ever. pic.twitter.com/6ClSCW6yKe
— Anna Giaritelli (@Anna_Giaritelli) August 5, 2021
The Biden administration has what the other two lacked: hindsight. Yet, more than one million illegals have crossed over our southern border since Joe Biden was inaugurated and it will increase sex trafficking. Other than putting Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of the issue, in which she took a half-hearted trip to the quasi-border three months after the fact, no immediate actions have been taken. The cages are overflowing, the trafficking continues. And Ashton Kutcher remains mum. In fact, not one criticism or question has been lobbed at the Biden administration by either Kutcher himself or his organization THORN since inauguration.
THORN (originally named DNA Foundation) was founded in 2009 by Ashton Kutcher and then wife Demi Moore. This organization works to address the sexual exploitation of children around the globe using technology. It identifies child abuse victims from materials circulated on the internet and shares the information with law enforcement in order to locate victims. It also works with tech platforms to ensure safer environments are developed for children in the internet age, primarily their privacy. They have succeeded in identifying over 17,000 victims and their work is exemplary.
The reality is that neither of the past Presidents can look at the issue of human trafficking or the sexual exploitation of minors in the United States as it relates to the border and say that their policies succeeded. Obama’s policies were detrimental and increased the number of those held at detention centers. Trump’s rhetoric failed to bring the country a unified and humane approach. However, since he’s been in office, Biden is making the situation worse than it was under either predecessor. And the refusal of Hollywood elites to call him out for it is helping him prolong the misery faced by the most powerless among us.
Although the administration posted a five-pillar blueprint for how they are to combat illegal immigration and work with Central America for the prosperity of both the US and our neighbors to the south, even yahoo news said the quiet part out loud. “The White House has unveiled its plan to address the root causes of migration, a long-term strategy… but it is expected to do little to stem the immediate surge of migrants arriving at the southern border.” Not only this, but the administration is instructing agencies to caravan the illegal immigrants throughout the United States. One might think this would spark outrage from organizations that exist to combat human trafficking, but not so much as a press release can be found from Kutcher or his associates. THORN did not immediately reply to my request for comment.
This is not a partisan issue. Women and children being sold into sexual slavery and exploitation is abhorrent. The media has lost its focus on both sides of the political spectrum and Hollywood is too afraid to call out its friends in the Biden administration for their failures. Hollywood loved to scream about Donald Trump’s “Kids in Cages”. Given its current silence, it seems only fair to postulate that this issue was never about the kids but rather about rampant Trump hatred. Does Hollywood know how bad the problem of trafficking is? If they do, doesn’t their silence now make them hypocritical at best and complicit at worse?
Joe Biden’s inaction is disgraceful. So is Ashton Kutcher’s silence. Hollywood’s hypocrisy will be exposed, but at an unbearable cost to women and children caught in the misery of sex trafficking.