The DNA Foundation was formed in order to “raise awareness about child sex slavery, change the cultural stereotypes that facilitate this horrific problem, and rehabilitate innocent victims.” That’s certainly a noble goal, one you might expect to be championed by the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates. Surprisingly, The DNA Foundation’s creators are Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. (D and A, get it?)
Moore and Kutcher note in their organization’s manifesto that “the global sex slavery market generates $32 billion in profits annually.” In the US alone, “between 100,000 and 300,000 children are enslaved and sold for sex” and “the sex slavery industry has become an increasingly important revenue source for organized crime because each young girl can earn between $150,000 and $200,000 each year for her pimp.”
Mashable refers to The DNA Foundation as “another good story of major celebrities (and social media savants) leveraging their status for a cause, especially one that has remained largely under the public radar.” I can’t really argue with that, though I am curious as to why this Hollywood power couple didn’t throw their time and money behind an anti-sex trafficking organization like Love146, which already has a strong web presence and has been around since 2002.
Perhaps one of the reasons Moore and Kutcher branded their foundation with their initials is because they are accordingly able to draw more celeb interest to their cause. Justin Timberlake, Sean Penn, Bradley Cooper, Jaime Foxx and more high-profile men have filmed videos for DNA’s “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” campaign. Despite the weighty subject matter, all of the videos are humorous in nature, which makes me wonder if they’re getting the desired point across. Take the 30 second spot filmed by Bradley Cooper, the assertion being that “real men know how to make a meal.” Yet Cooper pours milk into a cereal box and eats it with a giant cooking spoon. I’m a comic, so I certainly appreciate adding levity to any subject, but I don’t understand the connection between illustrating a man’s incompetence and preventing sex trafficking.
Take a look at a few videos from the campaign (after the jump) and let me know if they strike you as ineffective and odd. (Not to mention the fact that the YouTube account built by these “social media savants” – or more likely their people – has mislabeled videos all over it.) The Bradley Cooper video is listed once as featuring Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and another time as featuring Randi Zuckerburg – who, by the way, is a woman – although I suppose that’s because they’re referenced at the end of the clip. Needless to say, it adds more confusion to an already confusing premise.
To be fair, some videos in the series are more effective than others. This one starring all-around mega-talent Justin Timberlake manages to be funny and yet end on an appropriately serious note:
(Although even in this video, the message is sort of undercut by the proclamation that Perez Hilton doesn’t buy girls. I mean, duh.)
So what do you think? Is it bizarre to watch Ashton Kutcher throw away socks in an effort to stop the child sex trade? Or do you think The DNA Foundation will make a difference with this campaign?
Photo: DNA Foundation