March 29th, 2011
04:14 AM ET

Mira Sorvino's fight: Human trafficking

Actress and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Mira Sorvino speaks about meeting a young girl rescued from a sex trafficking ring.

“You can’t actually escape the horrendousness of what people are telling you and the pain that they have lived through - and the idea that you are talking to a tiny percentile who got away,” Sorvino tells CNN’s Jim Clancy.

Topics: Solutions • Voices

soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. HRF

    Trafficking is a global issue tragedy of trafficking in South Asia is thousand of young girls and boys are sold into modern-day slavery. watch this documentary it provides a compelling look into this dark, inhuman, and exploitative world and shows how each one of us can help to prevent modern-day slavery.
    Watch documentary "SOLD" by MTV Exit
    you can watch this documentary on Culture Unplugged

    March 29, 2011 at 6:52 am | Reply
  2. Ana

    I agree with HRF. I believe it is not only in Cancun or Mexico, it us unfortunately something that is going on WORLDWIDE!
    This is very sad, hopefully one day everyone will join this cause to avoid human trafficking and related situations

    March 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  3. Kelly James

    okay now folks. As a fully consenting adult sex worker and activist, I would like nothing better than to see an end to trafficking and coercion. However, I would like to clarify a point of logic that for some reason seems to escape certain individuals: COERCED TRAFFICKING DOES NOT EQUAL CONSENTING PROSTITUTION. Period. There's a lot of propaganda, rhetoric, and misinformation being bounced around like a ping pong ball that directly harms both consenting prostitutes AND the trafficking victims that the proponents of such misinformation claim to want to help.

    Kelly James

    March 29, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Reply
  4. Kelly James

    If anyone really would like to learn more about the issue of sex trafficking and what can be done to help it's victims, I highly recommend reading up on Laura Agustin's work

    March 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  5. Frank

    Right on Kelly. But this campaign is more about advocacy than facts. Hopefully people will check out Laura’s website, in addition to the Village Voice and The Oregonian. Just don’t expect CNN to highlight any of the articles (facts) from the sources above.

    March 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  6. cnnsucks

    This article ought to have been titled; Mira Sorvino's poverty pimp profiteer.

    March 29, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  7. JP

    Wake up! There are approximatly 300,000 U.S. children being commercially exploited sexually every day. 10% of these children are kidnapped victims. The average age is thirteen. Consenting prostitution is just as much to blame enviting mens imaginations to exploit women let alone young teenage girls! This issue need to be seriously addressed. People need to know the facts of this reality.

    March 29, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  8. Kelly James

    there most certainly is not 300,000 children being sexually exploited in the US on a daily basis. That is ridiculous. Please take a moment to check out the following link, you very well might find it to be an incredibly well explained rational estimate of actual trafficking numerology. let me know what you think.

    Regardless, the violation of one individual's rights equals the violation of all individual rights!!!! Coercion and force are unacceptable PERIOD!

    As is exploiting victims and grossly misrepresenting the real situation in order to further one's own agenda, not to mention further criminalizing an already marginalized group of people who really are, for the most part, truly decent people. Sadly, this is what the war on trafficking has become 🙁

    March 29, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Reply
  9. swoplv

    I think there must be a name for this rescue fetish... if one needs to help and rescue, one needs for there to be victims to help and rescue. Kinda sick. Nonetheless, empowering people to address their own oppressions in a way they themselves determine best suits their own situations would be far more effective. But then, that doesn't satisfy that fetish, does it?

    March 30, 2011 at 3:08 am | Reply
    • Maggie McNeill

      I agree with you, Swoplv; I've been calling them "trafficking fetishists" in my blog for quite a while now, because that's EXACTLY what many of them are. The lurid descriptions of "teenage sex slaves" read like something out of a cheap pornographic novel, and the wildly exaggerated numbers (thanks, Kelly, for linking my analysis of those numbers) are calculated to feed this sick fantasy. This coming Saturday (April 2nd) my column will be dedicated to an analysis of the 2001 Estes and Weiner study whose information is so badly distorted by those who wish to profit by the hysteria as CNN as doing; I invite those who read this page to read and understand what that study ACTUALLY found, as opposed to what trafficking fetishists claim it found (as quoted by JP above).

      March 30, 2011 at 9:09 am | Reply
      • Maggie McNeill

        Here's a link to that analysis of the Estes and Weiner study I promised; you'll see how the original report's guesstimate of "100,000-300,000 children, youth and young adults of 18-19 in danger of some form of sexual exploitation, mostly due to sexual abuse by acquaintances or relatives" has been warped into "300,000 sex-trafficked children" by a long game of what children used to call "Chinese Whispers".

        April 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  10. Patrick

    I'm sorry, but could someone please explain to me this "rescue" fetish in more detail? I don't think there is a definitive correlation between people wanting to help and their "need" of victims to support their fetish of wanting to help? Or did I seriously miss something.

    BUT, I will say, I'm sure that some people do have a fantasy about rescuing someone to be a "hero" in the eyes of all parties... But ...

    March 30, 2011 at 9:56 am | Reply
  11. pocu

    I have wondered for many years how long it would take for the majority of average people to even learn and/or realize that slavery still exists, not just 200 years ago in U.S., as if that were the only country to ever have a slavery problem. There are children at this very moment just south of the state of Florida (in Haiti), called restavik chidren, who are in slavery. We're so worried about what happened to people who are long since dead, we forget about the little boys and girls and helpless women who are right at this very moment being abused by some sick perver t, was abused by some sick perver t yesterday, and will be abused tomorrow too. All because the majority of the world cares more about watching the latest divorce court episode or what time the game comes one. When will we actually do something? I mean really do something? My dream is to adopt one of these children out of this mess if I ever have the means to do so...

    March 30, 2011 at 10:13 am | Reply
  12. snyggast

    I'm hoping more high profile celebs bring this issue to light. It's only going to get worse and worse in the next 20 years. But the more victims we can save the better.

    So stop wasting your money on PETA !!!

    March 30, 2011 at 10:23 am | Reply
  13. pocu

    Well, I wouldn't say that donating money to animal cruelty prevention programs is a waste of money. I don't know about PETA specifically, but it's still a worthy cause in itself.

    March 30, 2011 at 11:29 am | Reply
  14. bebopper76

    THE NUMBER OF SEX TRAFFICKING SEX SLAVERY VICTIMS ARE EXAGGERATED. WITH NO PROOF AND MADE UP STATISTICS – It’s now clear that anti-prostitution groups used fake data to deceive the media and lie to Congress. And it was all done to score free publicity and a wealth of public government funding from taxpayers

    Millions of USA government dollars are being spent to fight a crime that is extremely rare. The US government assumes that all prostitutes on Earth are sex trafficked slaves – Who are kidnapped and forced into having sex against their will. This is NOT true of MOST Prostitution.

    There is a lot of controversy over the numbers of adult woman who are forced sex slaves. The real factual answer is that no one knows. There is hard evidence that the sex slavery/sex trafficking issue continues to report false information and is greatly exaggerated by politicians, the media, and aid groups, feminist and religious organizations that receive funds from the government, The estimate of adult women who become new sex slaves ranges anywhere from 40 million a year to 5,000 per year all of which appear to be much too high. They have no evidence to back up these numbers, and no one questions them about it. Their sources have no sources, and are made up numbers. In fact if some of these numbers are to believed which have either not changed or have been increased each year for the past twenty years, all woman on earth would currently be sex slaves. Yet, very few real forced against their will sex slaves have been found.

    It is not easy for criminals to engage in this acitvity:

    Sex trafficking is illegal and the pentities are very severe. It is very difficult to force someone to be a sex slave, they would have to have 24 hour guards posted and be watched 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. Have the threat of violence if they refused, and have no one notice and complain to the authorities or police. They would need to hide from the general public yet still manage to see customers from the general public and not have the customers turn the traffickers in to the police. They would need to provide them with medical care, food, shelter, and have all their basic needs met. They would need to have the sex slaves put on a fake front that they enjoyed what they were doing, act flirtatious and do their job well. They would have to deal with the authorities looking for the missing women, and hide any money they may make, since it comes from illegal activity. They must do all of this while constantly trying to prevent the sex slaves from escaping and reporting them to the police. They would need to prevent the general public from reporting them into the police. This is extremely difficult to do, which makes this activity rare. These criminals would be breaking dozens of major laws not just one. Kidnapping itself is a serious crime. There are many laws against sex trafficking, sex slavery, kidnapping, sex abuse, rape, sexual harassment etc. If someone is behind it, they will be breaking many serious laws, be in big trouble, and will go to jail for many long years.

    While there are some women who may be true victims. And it is possible for this to happen in rare situations. This is a small rare group of people and that the numbers and scale of this crime is exaggerated. The very nature of someone pulling off a kidnapping and forced sex for profit appears to be very difficult. Since it would be difficult this makes this crime rare. Not impossible, but extremely rare.

    A key point is that on the sidelines the prostitutes themselves are not being listened to. They oppose laws against prostitution. But no one wants to listen to the prostitutes themselves. Only to the self appointed experts that make up numbers and stories many of which have never met a real forced sex slave or if they did it was only a few. The media and government never ask the prostitutes themselves what would help them in terms of laws.

    Many women in the sex business are independent workers. They don’t have a pimp.

    They work for themselves, advertise themselves, and keep all the money for themselves. No one forces them, because there isn’t anyone to force them. They go out and find their own customers, set their own prices, and arrange everything by themselves. Sometimes they may employ others to help them, but these are not pimps. If for example, she hires an internet web design company to make a website for her, does that make the web design company a pimp? If she pays a phone company for a phone to do business, does this make the phone company a pimp? If she puts an ad in the paper, does this make the editor a pimp? If she puts the money she makes into a bank account does this make the bank a pimp?

    A lot of anti prostitution groups would say yes. Everyone and everybody is a pimp.

    These groups make up lies, and false statistics that no one bothers to check. A big reason they do this is because it provides high paying jobs for them. They get big donations, and grants from the government, charity, churches, etc. to have these groups, and pay these high salaries of the anti prostitution workers.

    Sex Traffficking in Sports Events:

    Super Bowl 2011:

    According to the media hype There was supposed to be hundreds of thousands of under age child sex slaves kidnapped and forced to have sex with super bowl fans. At the Dallas Super Bowl 2011. WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL OF THEM????????????

    Well, as I predicted it was all a big lie told by various anti-prostitution groups and the Dallas Women’s Foundation which is a anti-prostitution group that lies in order to get grant money from the government and charities to pay their high salaries. As proved in the link below:
    Top FBI agent in Dallas (Robert Casey Jr.) sees no evidence of expected spike in child sex trafficking:

    “Among those preparations was an initiative to prevent an expected rise in sex trafficking and child prostitution surrounding the Super Bowl. But Robert Casey Jr., special agent in charge of the FBI’s Dallas office, said he saw no evidence that the increase would happen, nor that it did.

    “In my opinion, the Super Bowl does not create a spike in those crimes,” he said. “The discussion gets very vague and general. People mixed up child prostitution with the term human trafficking, which are different things, and then there is just plain old prostitution.”

    This myth of thousands or millions of underage sex slaves tries to make every sports fan a sex criminal. No matter what the sport is, or in what country it is in.

    Brian McCarthy isn’t happy. He’s a spokesman for the NFL. Every year he’s forced to hear why his customers are adulterers and child molesters. Brian McCarthy says the sport/super bowl sex slave story is a urban legend, with no truth at all.

    Dallas TV News show about super bowl sex slave myth:–114983179.html

    Dallas newspaper:

    Official Lies About Sex-Trafficking Exposed: It’s now clear Anti Prostitution groups used fake data to deceive the media and lie to Congress. And it was all done to score free publicity and a wealth of public funding

    Washington post article:

    News night BBC video:

    Guardian newspaper:

    Nick Davies – About Truth in the Media:

    March 30, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Reply
  15. pocu

    Bebopper I will research your links. I can only hope that it's true. Because the idea of this makes some of us very sad and feel very helpless. But in some countries, all of the criteria you mentioned wouldn't be difficult at all.

    March 30, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  16. bdevereaux

    I, also as a consenting adult sex worker, and many other of my peers are absolutely sickened by the fact that trafficking and coercion (especially in minors) exist -whatever numbers are to be believed. I do however, think that once society can differentiate between an adult voluntary sex worker and a forced trafficking victim that we can go quite a bit further in solving this problem. No one has better insight into the sex industry than those that are involved and no one is better able to report these victims and their traffickers than the adult sex workers and their clients who may come across actual victims. But since neither us nor our clients feel that our liberty is safe once involved in the investigation (i.e. reporting instances) many keep quiet, not willing to have their name published in a newspaper nor their picture on a billboard. I have heard people like Ms. Sorvino say that they are willing to do most anything to help these poor victims but they are not. They are not willing to let consenting adult sex workers suggest ideas or be a part of the solution, instead preferring to call us 'victims' as well when we are nothing of the sort.

    I also encourage reading

    March 30, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Reply
  17. Kelly James

    I also encourage reading

    I was just thinking how hypocritical the title of this post is: "Mira Sorvino's Fight". Huh? How is this Mira Sorvino's fight? She lies in the lap of luxury and shoots a movie here and there. More power to her, and I think it's great when a celebrity takes time from living the good life to support a cause they believe in.....but "Mira Sorvino's Fight"???? Come on. Just goes to show the ridiculous amounts of exaggeration and propaganda that we are subjected to every minute of every day.

    March 31, 2011 at 12:47 am | Reply
    • Maggie McNeill

      Mira Sorvino also thinks "debate" means trying to censor actual, bona fide anthropologists who have studied human trafficking and migrant labor if they disagree with her:

      April 3, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Reply
  18. ed

    mira,you are what should be one of hollywood's elite for you're involvement in the cause you as a human have undertaken, you as an actress stood out to me,now I know why..You are the apiitimy of what a great humanitatrinan seeks to be,thank you

    December 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Reply
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