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Moore talks trafficking
Amie Parnes, Politico

Demi Moore was watching television one night a couple of years ago with her husband, Ashton Kutcher, when they stumbled upon an Dateline piece on MSNBC on the sex trade in Cambodia.

Both Moore and Kutcher were instantly captivated.

"It has these five, six, seven year old girls who were enslaved and forced to engage in sex acts with adult men," Moore said in a lengthy sit-down interview with POLITICO on Tuesday, as she traveled from Capitol Hill to the White House. "I think it just really took us. It hit us in a really deep place.

"As a mother of three girls, I looked at these little girls who had Barbie lunch boxes in the room with the undercover cameras and I tried to grasp the reality that they're being forced to give oral sex to an adult man," she continued. "It was incomprehensible. And we just thought, we can't live in a world without doing something."

Moore says she and her husband tried to educate themselves on the issue. As they did, "it was like opening Pandora's box."

The actress said they were shocked to learn just how much of a problem child sex trafficking is in the U.S.
"We had no idea the magnitude of the issue of modern day slavery and had absolutely no idea what was happening here in America," she said. "The numbers were so overwhelming."

On Tuesday afternoon after traveling from New York (Kutcher remained there to be honored at Tuesday nights Time 100 dinner) Moore had her first big lobbying experience in Washington. She met with lawmakers in both chambers, spoke at a forum, and huddled with White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and other top White House aides to talk about the issue. (White House senior adviser David Axelrod also stopped in to say hello.)

"Demi was very impressive," Jarrett told POLITICO after the meeting with Moore and some actual victims of sex-trafficking. " I was very moved by the two young women who accompanied Demi, she said. Their willingness to share their painful and deeply personal stories helped us all understand the atrocities so many young girls face on our streets every day."

Jarrett also said that she looked forward to continuing the conversation and visiting some of the victims in New York "so that we can better understand how we can help stop domestic human trafficking of girls."

Moore admitted to being "a little nervous" on her maiden D.C. lobbying trip. And she knows she has "a long haul" ahead of her to raise peoples awareness.

"It's not a popular [issue]," Moore said. "There isnt anyone who disagrees that it's unacceptable [but] people don't treat it like a top priority. In general, it's like the dirty little secret."

At the forum, Moore sat alongside the sex trafficking survivors and talked about changing the "cultural stereotypes."

"As a society we owe it to them to do everything we can to ensure that this doesn't happen to anyone else," she told a packed audience that included Rep. Chris Smith (who pointed out that Ghost was one of his favorite movies), Hill staffers and members of advocacy groups.

"We are focusing on the effect and not the cause," Moore told the crowd. "And we've bought into the myths, I think, collectively as a society that the girl is choosing it, she likes it, she's making a lot of money. And, I tell you, you go into a room of 13-year-old girls and ask them to raise their hands if they want to be a prostitute and then tell me if they're gonna choose it, and I guarantee you that none of them will be raising their hands."

Moore said she would like to see law