It's called "moral panic," and it's the kind of urban legend people like Ashton Kutcher cite when he told Piers Morgan two months ago in an nterview that 100,000 to 300,000 kids are forced into underage sex trafficking every year in America.
In March, Village Voice Media revealed the junk science used in the Women's Funding Network's sex trafficking study, a study quoted by "activists" like Kutcher when talking about prostitution and trafficking in America.
Since then, VVM reporters have been scouring arrest records covering the last decade in 37 of the country's largest cities, and have found less than 9,000 cases of child prostitution total. That's only about 900 cases a year, across the whole country. Sure, some may have slipped through the cracks, but we're still left wondering, where did Ashton Kutcher get his facts from?
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For more, read this week's Village Voice investigative feature on underage sex trafficking.