January 11, 2018

Press Statement: No Such Thing as “Baby Prostitutes,” Only Raped Children

56 Experts Write to Netflix, Urging to Cancel Sex Trafficking Show

Washington, DC – Fifty-six survivors of sex trafficking and/or subject matter experts, social service providers, and advocates for the abolition of sexual exploitation sent a letter to Netflix executives today to express their deep concern regarding Netflix’s forthcoming Italian drama, “Baby,” which normalizes child sexual abuse and the sex trafficking of minors as “prostitution.”

“Netflix just recently fired actor Kevin Spacey after he was accused of sexual misconduct because the optics were right. To turn around and produce a show that glorifies the sex trafficking of minors and dub it ‘edgy entertainment’ is the height of hypocrisy and social irresponsibility,” said Lisa Thompson, Vice President of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“If Netflix executives care more about ending sexual exploitation in this #MeToo moment than about profiting from sexually exploitive themes, they will cancel production of this show immediately.

“This is a pivotal moment in our nation’s history for combatting sexual exploitation in all its forms. Which side of history does Netflix want to be on? By moving forward with production of ‘Baby,’ Netflix will clearly be putting profits before people—in this case, minors who are exploited, manipulated, and sold for sex,” added Thompson.

This show perpetuates two dangerous myths, which would seriously undermine society’s efforts to combat sexually exploitive influences in today’s culture:

  1. “Teen prostitution” is distinct from sex trafficking. Under U.S. federal law and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the U.N. Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, there is no such thing as “underage prostitution.” Anyone engaged in commercial sex who is under 18 years old is by  definition a sex trafficking victim; the global community thereby affirms that minors cannot consent to their own sexual exploitation.
  2. Prostitution is a glamorous, if risky, entrepreneurial adventure. Even in so-called VIP prostitution rings, prostitution is not empowering, and is rarely a lucrative venture for those being bought and sold. It must be recognized for what it is—organized sexual exploitation.

January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day and January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.Read the letter here.

To learn more about the Rights4Girls “There is No Such Thing As a Child Prostitute” campaign, see http://rights4girls.org/campaign/.

Further Reading