Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Ashton Kutcher is currently in the throes of a one-sided Twitter fight with the Village Voice, who this week published a cover story mocking Kutcher's campaign against child prostitution—a PSA that the Voice has dubbed "fatuous and silly" because, the Voice claims, Kutcher's (and the New York Times and USA Today's and CNN's and the United Nations) stats about child prostitution in the United States are off. By how much? The Voice says a lot—but, it also confirms that "there's no way to know for sure how many child prostitutes there are in America."
To be fair, the US Department of Justice pegs the number of children at risk of becoming victims of commercial exploitation at 293,000. "The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12-14," the DoJ reports. "It is not only the girls on the streets that are affected—for boys and transgender youth, the average age of entry into prostitution is 11-13." Compound this with the fact that statistically, around the world, crimes against women, girls, gay men, gay youth, and transgender people are significantly under-reported.
By the way, if you've ever seen a copy of the Village Voice, you'll know that a huge chunk of the paper's advertising—pages upon pages upon pages every issue—comes from escort and "massage" services.
We know this is really off-topic, but what do you think? Sure, there's a big PR machine behind Hollywood celebrity image-makers and aligning certain stars with specific causes, but should Kutcher be publicly eviscerated for bringing attention to an issue like this because a publication, which takes a great deal of money from the sex industry, disputes his numbers? Or is a good cause a good cause?
· @aplusk [Twitter]
· Real men get their facts straight [Village Voice]