By Belinda Goldsmith
NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Hollywood actress Mira Sorvino called on Thursday for more action to be taken against pimps and men buying sex in a bid to end sex trafficking, voicing fears that online pornography and grooming of vulnerable targets were fuelling the problem.
The 52-year-old Oscar-winning actress became actively involved in campaigning against sex trafficking around 2005 after working with Amnesty International and realising that slavery still existed but had gone underground.
She became a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking in 2009 and has travelled globally to push for laws against human trafficking and support for survivors.
Sorvino has also become active in the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and one of the most vocal women to speak out against former producer Harvey Weinstein regarding harassment in a hotel in 1995. Weinstein faces sentencing for sex assault and rape.
Sorvino said although more laws were in place to combat sex trafficking, there were far too few prosecutions compared with the millions of people trafficked globally, with traffickers increasingly using the internet to groom victims.
“So much is happening on the internet. Traffickers are targeting kids through games,” Sorvino told the Thomson Reuters Foundation ahead of a U.N. Women For Peace Association panel discussion to push for more action to end sex trafficking.
Traffickers and pimps lure children in foster care, homeless teens, trans teens and others who are vulnerable, she said. “These people are experts at targeting them.”
The United Nation’s International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 40.3 million people are trapped in modern slavery which includes about 4.8 million victims of sex trafficking. – Reuters