SEATTLE, Washington — Nearly 25 million people are victims of modern-day slavery, with 25% of all trafficking victims being children. This makes human trafficking the second most lucrative crime globally, generating approximately $150 billion annually. With this human rights violation on hand, celebrities are using their influence to combat this issue. Keep reading to learn about five celebrities fighting human trafficking.
5 Celebrities Fighting Human Trafficking
- Ricky Martin – Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin is widely known for his influence on Latin Pop, but also his voice as a social activist. He established the Ricky Martin Foundation in 2004 with his primary campaign, Slaves of a New Era, to denounce child trafficking and raise awareness through educational programs. He has also taken personal trips to Thailand to spread awareness about human trafficking and help build more than 200 homes with Habitat for Humanity. In 2006, he spoke at various international conferences and to the International Human Rights Committee. Martin also partnered with Microsoft in 2007 to launch a campaign to protect children against predators and other online threats. At the opening of the Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking, Martin said, “Human trafficking is a violation of human rights; it has no place in our world and I beg you to act now.”
- Ashton Kutcher – An American actor, entrepreneur and producer, Ashton Kutcher made his film debut in 1999 and is famous for his role as Michael Kelso in the sitcom That ’70s Show. While Kutcher donates to many nonprofit organizations, he alongside Demi Moore co-founded Thorn. Their organization works with tech companies and law enforcement to identify and prevent child sex trafficking. Thorn partners with companies such as Facebook, Yahoo and Google to identify and protect victims from abuse. According to an article from Forbes, “The nonprofit’s products are used today in 35 countries and have helped identify more than 30,000 victims of abuse, 10,000 of whom were children.”
- Angelina Jolie – Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie, among the celebrities fighting human trafficking, frequently speaks up for victims. Alongside former British Foreign Secretary William Hague, she established the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) in 2012, aimed at ending sexual violence and improving support for survivors. In London, in 2014, Jolie and Hague co-hosted the first PSVI global summit to educate individuals on human trafficking. They said that “more than 17,000 military and police personnel had been trained on sexual violence issues since the launch of PSVI.” Jolie also starred in the 30-minute documentary, Inhuman Traffic, which is the “lead feature of MTV Europe’s Exit campaign to stop exploitation and trafficking.” Jolie explains how “we have the responsibility — and the power — to help end exploitation and trafficking, wherever they occur, in whatever form.”
- Julia Ormond – English actress and human rights activist Julia Ormond helps the public become aware of human trafficking, also known as “modern-day slavery.” Ormond felt burdened by the multiple accounts of young trafficking victims in Eastern Europe. In 2005, she had the opportunity to represent the plight of human trafficking as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. With the help of NGOs, government representatives and large companies, Ormond founded the Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking (ASSET) to help catch trafficking crimes prematurely,
- Reese Whitherspoon – One of the highest-paid actresses in the world, Reese Whitherspoon continues to use her voice to speak out about domestic violence. Alongside the Big Little Lies cast, Whitherspoon encourages her followers to help her in raising awareness and funds for an organization called Safe Horizon. As the most extensive victim services nonprofit in the United States, Safe Horizon supplies relief services for victims of crime and abuse.
With more than 421,394 entries for missing children into the National Crime Information Center in 2019, much still needs to be done in the allocation of further resources toward battling human trafficking. However, these five celebrities fighting human trafficking have shown that while there is much progress to be made, individual voices play an essential role in enacting change.
– Erica Fealtman
Photo: Wikimedia Commons