BY JEANETTE FRIEDMAN
While STAR magazine and other tabloids touted the confessions of a bimbo who said she got it on with Ashton Kutcher, and predicted the end of his marriage to Demi Moore, Kutcher and Moore were at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in Manhattan, where they formally announced their campaign to end sex trafficking in the United States. "Real Men Don't Buy Girls" is their message, and Kutcher told American men to get off their asses and do something. One in five American men buy sex, and 75% of the women in the trade are enslaved by their pimps. The average age of entry is 13, and it is not done by choice.
Kutcher told a packed house that Tuesday marked the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. While most Americans assumed slavery was over and done, he said, there are more people enslaved now than ever before in human history — 27,000,000 — most of them sex slaves, with 80% of them women and girls. In the United States alone, he noted, there are 1,000,000 sex slaves, one third of them children under 15, many of them stolen off the streets. He and others on the panel described a number of heartbreaking cases. You can watch the panel discussion here.
CGI (www.clintonglobalinitiative.org) is a gathering of world leaders, diplomats, CEOs, and just plain folks who are brought together to make commitments to repair the world. While world leaders and diplomats were meeting on Manhattan's East Side at the United Nations and talked but accomplished little, some of these same world leaders traveled across town to the Sheraton Center on the West Side, where in four information-packed days, in rooms filled with CEOs of major corporations and foundations, celebrities and workers from non-profit agencies from around the globe, people learned that simple solutions can often make the difference between life and death. In the last six years, CGI has raised $63 billion, $6 billion just this past week and will be affecting the lives of three billion people, including people in the United States.CGI, an outgrowth of the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, focuses on four "Global Challenge areas": Economic Empowerment, Education, Environment & Energy, and Global Health. As members file into seminars of particular interest to them, they are bombarded with facts and figures... from President Clinton, who has in his brain an enormous store of statistics he uses to build his case for just causes, to Ashley Judd, from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to Ben Stiller.
Successful partnerships between CGI members were showcased in many of the seminars, and participants were publicly acknowledged for their efforts in diverse fields — from providing free college-level computer science courses at the University of the People (www.oupeople.org) or developing tolerance-building children's books in Jordan that can change cultures and promote gender-equality. The session can be seen here.
Micro-economics, using smart-phones and Wi-Fi to save lives in every corner of the planet, finding ways to prevent global warming with innovations in energy — including folding bicycles — the ideas flowed forth and success — and failures — were acknowledged. Among the commitments were those to projects here in the United States. Geoffrey Canada, who built charter schools in Harlem and changed a 97 block area from a slum into a neighborhood, described why and how he accomplished what he did. You can watch that session here.
New commitments were announced at the beginning of each session, and members were part of the panel discussions and breakout sessions. On the evening of the last day, a gala awards dinner was held at the Museum of Modern Art, hosted by Ben Stiller, that honored those who gave their best.