#CancelNetflix has been trending for days on Twitter, as droves of people began mercilessly boycotting the streaming video service over its addition of the French film., “Mignonnes,”, or “Cuties,” to its offerings. The reason for the consternation? Americans’ blood is boiling because many think “Cuties” is essentially child pornography, and nothing more. People are concerned that the movie is really about descending a slippery slope of legitimizing child porn.
There’s even a petition at Change.org, which has thus far garnered over 246,000 signatures, demanding Nexflix cancel the launch of “Cuties.” So far, Netflix has not obliged. In a statement to Variety, a spokesperson from Netflix had this to say regarding Cuties, “‘Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award-winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up — and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”
The online chatter of recent days is not without cause; the movie features some scenes which clearly depict minors in a sexualized manner, such as lascivious images of young girls in skimpy outfits dancing in ways that many viewers of the film have found disgusting. The IMBD rating of this French import even warns that some scenes are essentially child porn. As one young tween in a music video being watched on a small cell phone screen by the characters in the movie lifts her shirt briefly to bare a breast, this is technically true. The film is rated “TV-MA” for its inclusion of adult language.
However, the idea that pedophiles would rent the movie to see a couple of frames of young girls prancing around on-screen in, what are essentially contemporary dance costumes, doesn’t make sense. If you look at arrest records of sex offenders, which may easily be found in plentiful numbers included in news reports all over the Internet, it would be difficult to miss that the kinds of videos downloaded, and produced, by sex offenders often feature kids in the midst of being molested by adults, not an art film with a few milliseconds of a bared chest or a few scenes with young girls dancing overly suggestively,in the manner of Cardi B.
In the United States, breasts are a symbol of sexuality, and little else. Public breastfeeding was shunned for a long while; our grey-toned Victorian roots show at every turn. In Europe and in most other parts of the world, women and girls sunbathe topless on beaches. “A breast is a breast is a breast,” is just not true; this is a French movie and we cannot view it through the lens of American values. While the scene with the bared breast is decidedly sexual, it is not so because the filmmaker wishes us to ogle a child; rather she wishes us to understand the point she’s making:
“I needed to know how [young girls] felt about their own femininity in today’s society, and how they dealt with their self image at a time when social media is so important. Our girls see that the more a woman is overly sexualized on social media,the more she is successful.”
There is, in actual fact, a vast network of child-sex prostitution in this country; this is not a “Q-Anon” conspiracy to be dismissed outright, as the paranoid delusion of a far-Right conspiracy theorist. If you doubt the veracity of this, use Google effectively and search for such headlines. If you’re not already aware, you might just come away shocked. That is not this; that is, the procurers of child porn, the consumers of child porn, those prostituting young girls, and those buying young flesh, do not share much in common with those behind Cuties, or those audiences who might find value in the film. Fact.
Child predation is serious, but it’s doubtful that the intended audience for Cuties was child sex predators. It’s a patently ridiculous notion. That “other” sort of content is out there if someone really looks for it; it’s a multi-billion dollar business, after all. It’s raw and it’s vicious, and it’s certainly not about delivering a message to its viewers that hyper-sexualization is morally reprehensible, like Cuties does. What sex offender seeks out such a message?
The girls, admittedly, do dance in a suggestive manner, and wear tight revealing costumes, but it’s not quite so different than what you might see if you were to attend your daughter’s, or niece’s, dance recital on Staten Island, or any other town in the U.S.A., except perhaps (slightly) more extreme in its depiction of hyper-sexualization. Viewers’ excessive complains are unwarranted and without justification.
In any case, it’s all designed, without question, to elicit discomfort in the viewer, and provoke consideration of our present culture, both where we are and where we’re headed. The same can’t be said for kids’ dance schools. In defense of the average dance recital, kids want to learn what’s popular, and it’s not the fault of the dance instructors that the kind of dancing that is depicted in this film is what’s hot right now.
The Parents Television Council, in an article entitled, “PTC Says Netflix’s Cuties Perpetuates Sexualization of Children,” states that ““although there is a danger that little girls will be attracted to this film – the far greater risk is the way this film normalizes the sexualization of little girls.” Cuties does no such thing! This is ironic, as the film’s depiction of hyper-sexualization is, largely, negative, and not intended to portray such dancing as “liberating.”
Can we say the same for the many other movies and music videos young girls watch each and every day? Did the PTC members even watch the film? One would have to wonder. How can a film provoke discussion of a social practice without its depiction? The idea borders on ludicrous. If the film’s creators were concerned, primarily, with creating a multimedia work that doesn’t offend or depict the very topic under consideration, inevitably, it would have been an anodyne and milquetoast failure, missing a vital element of realism, merely for the sake of seeking inoffensiveness.
Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz even called on the Justice Department to investigate Netflix, as well as the “Cuties” filmmakers to ascertain whether they’ve run afoul of child pornography laws. On September 11th, Cruz drafted a letter to The Honorable William P. Barr, Attorney General of the United States, in which he states:
““Cuties”…sexualizes young girls, including through dance scenes that simulate sexual activities and a scene exposing a minor’s bare breast… The film routinely fetishizes and sexualized these pre-adolescent girls as they perform dances simulating sexual conduct in revealing clothing, including at least one scene with partial child nudity. These scenes in and of themselves are harmful. And it is likely that the filming of this movie created even more explicit and abusive scenes, and that pedophiles across the world in the future will manipulate and imitate this film in abusive ways…Although the First Amendment provides vigorous protection for artistic expression, it does not allow individuals or for-profit corporations to produce or distribute child pornography.”
Firstly, the film is a French import, and all actors were French, and so it’s not a matter of whether American laws were broken in the making of the film. True; the scene with the bared breast pushes limits, and could perhaps have been blurred out to conform to U.S. Federal law. But the film is art, and as such, there are protections. Not every depiction of a minor’s breast is salacious; that much is true. However, in “Cuties,” the bared breast is purposefully so. The film would not have lost any impact had the breast been blurred. Even so, it’s a stretch to try defining the film as any kind of pornography. Sen. Cruz accuses “Cuties” of being child porn, but did he actually screen the film?
If you come away from “Cuties” wanting to visit your local school bus stop scouting for young girls, there’s really no hope for you, and I propose that the issue isn’t with this movie, but rather with you. And, I’d argue that such interests were there long before Cuties ever arrived on the American scene. Sure; there are creeps like that out there, but I propose a film like Cuties isn’t what makes such disturbed individuals turn to a life of exploiting and abusing young children.
Did Senator Cruz ever hear of the TLC television show called Toddlers and Tiaras? That controversial show features scantily clad babies and kids, and has absolutely no redeeming social message; it’s purely for “entertainment” purposes. Precisely who might feel entertained watching parents emotionally abuse their kids as their children live out their parents’ demented fantasies by competing in questionable “beauty pageants” is a good place to start a more pertinent investigation, on the part of Senator Cruz. But I digress.
A few female friends and I rented the streaming movie after becoming exceedingly curious, seeing the extreme hate the film received. Any film that a majority of people clamor to have banned would be something I would be interested in learning more about. Banned books, and the like, intrigue me, having been raised in the American tradition of freedom. After watching the film, not knowing quite what to expect, what we found was that “Cuties” is a film with great depth, a film that provokes both thought and emotion. Along the way, at each new scene, I was awed by a film that was nothing short of brilliant, a far cry from the uproar it had provoked.
If anything, rather than cancelling Netflix, the many accusations to be found all over the internet probably drew viewers to check out the film, even begin a trial account, quite the opposite of the intent of those rallying against “Cuties.” The vitriol definitely piqued my interest, as both a reporter, and a concerned individual who is firmly against the sexual exploitation of females, women of all ages, inclusive of young girls, of course.
And, if you’re also adamantly against sex slavery and human trafficking, including child sex trafficking, as any decent person should well be, there’s a lot you can do by getting involved, by donating your efforts, time, or funds. (Please check out numerous the links at the end of the article and start from there.)
Writer and director Maïmouna Doucouré, like the main character in Cuties, Amy, is a first-generation French female whose Muslim parents hail from Senegal. Doucouré claims the story is party autobiographical, in that it explores straddling two entirely different worlds, fundamentalist Muslim, and progressive secular, cultures. Besides this, inspiration was drawn from a dance contest Doucouré attended in Paris. This is Doucouré’s first time directing, “Mignonnes” debuting at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, and she won the world cinema dramatic directing award for her effort.
According to the film’s writer, “There were these girls onstage dressed in a really sexy fashion in short, transparent clothes. They danced in a very sexually suggestive manner. There also happened to be a number of African mothers in the audience. I was transfixed, watching with a mixture of shock and admiration. I asked myself if these young girls understood what they were doing.”
Don’t for a second believe that Doucouré is glorifying the sexualization of children. In fact, her motivation for creating the film is quite the opposite: “Our girls see that the more a woman is sexualized on social media, the more she’s successful…and yeah, it’s dangerous,” Doucouré states plainly in an interview with Netflix that can be found on YouTube entitled, “Why I Made Cuties.” (see below)
After watching the film in its entirety, I would have to agree that the subtext of the film is that the hyper-sexualization of young girls is a negative social development; to come away with any other message, one would have to view a different film. There’s just no way that an honest viewer could come to any other real conclusion.
I am not going to reveal the story, but I will explain the major themes operating in the film. There are many, and each is significant and worthy of consideration.
Firstly, Amy, the film’s protagonist, is shown being raised in a traditional Muslim culture. The movie opens with her participating in a prayer circle with older Muslim women who chide that the devil is in the unclothes women of secular culture, espousing the primacy and value of modesty. At school, Amy encounters secular culture, where values are taught and cherished, however, outside of any religious context. The teachers want the students to grow into mature and responsible adults, clearly, but it’s framed in such away that does not invoke faith, much like secular school here in America teaches values without invoking the name of GOD.
It is possible to be moral without invoking the name of GOD; if you doubt it, you have some catching up to do in your educational research. While some suggest that morality divorced from religion is impossible, this is a decidedly parochial view. It’s just not true.
Amy steals a set of glowing green translucent prayer beads another woman leaves behind at the prayer circle. The irony of such an act cannot be lost on any astute viewer; after hearing an elder expound on the value of virtue, Amy chooses to steal, the ultimate irony. Later, she bribes her brother with these same beads, a tool that in the right hands, is used to foster communion with the Divine. To Amy, it’s just an attractive object, something to use to manipulate, much as she begins to view her own self, her body, and her sexuality.
After encountering a group of bullies at school, Amy seeks their acceptance. These girls are boisterous and rude; they cause trouble at school and at the local grocery. They are juvenile delinquents of a sort, perhaps not criminals, but extremely disrespectful and sassy. Amy seeks to gain their approval by joining them as part of their dance troupe.
Amy’s pilfering continues. She steals her adult male cousin’s cell phone, and secretly views pop music videos online. The videos are much like the top ten music videos currently out, featuring women jerking their hips and slithering around in an exceedingly sexual manner. After seeing this, Amy’s attention is transfixed on the posteriors of the women at the prayer meeting; Doucouré here makes a commentary on social mores and the fact that what kids are exposed to defines their world. How many readers have young girls who like Cardi B or other pop culture icons who flaunt their sexuality? (See Ben Shapiro on Cardi B, below, as well as the actual video, further along) It’s commonplace, actually. What we place our attention on, grows in our minds, and in our individual worlds.
Kids emulate what they are exposed to. Watching the film, this is repeatedly etched in the viewer’s mind. A child’s environment both shapes their thoughts and emotions, as well as their actions. Most importantly, it shapes their view of themselves, and their place in the world around them. If the Parents Television Council cannot grasp that this film explores the very issue that the organization claims is so important, we would be rightly vexed.
Before you recoil in horror, did you know that girls on dating sites are inundated with “penis pics” from boys? It seems young men no longer find courting women interesting; likewise, most do not seem to grasp that a girl isn’t going to like them based on a snapshot of their genitals. Forget about, “You’re pretty,” “You have nice hair,” “What are you doing Friday?” Such come-on lines are trite; boys today cut right to the meat of the matter; is it possible they’re not missing the point, entirely? This practice is common online, as is the practice of girls sharing videos of themselves while twerking, or even pics of their own private parts. TikTok is home to all manner of such; “Cuties” merely uncovers what young kids’ lives are like, already.
All the while Amy whips her dance squad into shape, she hides her new identity from her family, who would no doubt, have (strongly) disapproved. Amy is caught between two worlds: that of fundamentalist Islam, and that of hyper-liberalized contemporary society. Both have features that define a woman in objectified ways, though each is the antipode of the other. In Amy’s family, her aunt tells her how, at her own wedding ceremony years before, she was “shown” to the wedding guests, apparently meaning that her “proof” of virginity, an intact hymen, was on full display for all to see. Her value was in her intactness as a pristine sexual object.
The world of social media Amy discovers with the pilfered cell phone is quite the opposite; here her value relies on her full-on display as a sex object, a female willing to express sexuality without reservation, ready to be used. Amy learns that in either culture, her value is intrinsically tied to her value as a sex object, and little else.
In the secular culture at school, a world not quite so far to either extreme pole of fundamentalist Islam or lawless liberalism, Amy finds that her expression of uninhibited sexuality is shunned. This is the third world Amy traverses, the modern world where progressivism tempers tradition; it’s not quite this or that, a place where values exist, albeit divorced from GOD. At school, Amy’s mind and creativity are valued most, not her body or her perceived sexuality.
In this third world, Amy finds that her over-the-top social media image is shunned. Boys call her a slut for posting the nude picture of herself online, probably not what she was expecting. Her friends complain that others have been calling them sluts, and that they’re “not strippers,” referring again tot he same photo Amy posted online. Amy seems confused, and does not readily recognize why this is happening. Her newly found friends all but desert her. She is again left alone, stunned that she did everything that seemed to be a formula for popularity and social success, yet failed miserably.
In fact, when Amy is discovered by her adult cousin to have been in possession of her cell phone, rather than giving it back, she begins taking her clothes off in front of him. Her uncle is shocked and does not know what to make of this; apparently Amy believes that she could get her way and keep his phone if she presents herself in this manner, as though her bare body were some sort of currency for trade. In fact, her body was such a commodity of sorts, both in her native religious culture, and the culture she discovers online. He is disgusted at her attempt to seduce him and is not game. She is a child; she is his cousin.
Amy and her friends are clearly seeking positive attention, mainly from older boys. The girls pretend they’re older, but whenever a boy discovers they’re only eleven, they seem (rightly) disgusted that they were talking to a child. The girls are yet innocent, in the midst of change, growing into women. They seek recognition as women, but do not comprehend the implications. At one point, when the girls sneak into an indoor laser tag arena and get caught, they use this newly acquired understanding that they are off-limits to their advantage. They lie, claiming that one of the security guards was trying to grope them, and accuse him of being a child molester. Of course, this was not true; he merely wanted to detain them and call their parents because they entered the facility without paying the necessary fees.
As the story progresses, Amy begins menstruating. She is told by her aunt that she is now a woman. Amy appears terrified. She doesn’t miss, however, that a lot of how she is defined has to do with her perceived sexuality, what’s between her legs. Being a woman is directly tied to her reproductive organs; it’s inescapable.
At the outset of the film, Amy is seen happily making a collage of a happy family: Her Mom, her Dad, her little brother, and herself. She places this on her Mom’s bed. In the throes of emulating her peers, she steals her little bothers shirt to wear as a belly shirt. Unable to take it off quickly enough not to be discovered, she darts under her mother’s bed. While in hiding, she overhears a discussion between her Mom and her aunt. Apparently, her father has decided to take a second wife. Her aunt tells her mother it’s her duty to accept this. Her mother tries to be strong, but cries, and apparently punches herself. Perhaps she is blaming herself for not retaining her youth, for growing old.
Amy’s defiance can be seen, party, as a response to learning of her father’s decision. She seems angry with her father for destroying the security of her life, for altering the comfortable roles she had come to understand her parents as occupying, and resents that he is bringing a stranger into their midst to destroy their stability and create a new social dynamic.
Amy abruptly runs away from her Aunt when she was supposed to be helping to prepare the food for her father’s wedding to his new bride, and jets off to the dance contest audition, only to discover that she is late, and the other girls have gone ahead and presented their dance routine without her.
Instead of attending the wedding, Amy opts to participate in the dance contest. Although she was replaced by a dance troupe member whom she herself initially replaced, after she was kicked out for posting the nude selfie online, Amy had a plan: She laid in wait, behind a wall, and pushed the girl into a canal when she passed, en-route to the competition. The other girl can’t swim well, and it seems as though Amy is debating with herself whether to jump in after her to save the girl from drowning when she sees her flailing, but in the end decides against it. This is her cruelest moment; she is flirting with murder.
Being part of the dance competition is just too important; she will literally steal, cheat, lie, and harm others to enhance her ego image of herself; her very essence depends upon it. Amy sees the world as a place where one’s worth is intrinsically tied to one’s image, where little else matters.
At the dance event, in the midst of the performance, while the girls are dancing with arms akimbo and hips wildly gyrating, Amy suddenly has a change of heart. She recalls Muslim prayers in her mind, and thinks of her family. She stops dancing, and just stands perfectly still, crying. With tears streaming down her face, she steals away, leaving the scene of her long awaited dance competition, running home. The judges and parents at the contest show a variety of reactions to the girls’ twitching and shaking; some seem amused, while others are decidedly nonplussed, angry even. One judge is especially infuriated and gives a hearty thumbs down.
When Amy arrives back at her public housing complex, her aunt sees her skin-baring dance costume and freaks out. Her Mom is more understanding, and is happy to have her daughter back, consoling her in a tight hug. The protagonist’s mother seems pleased that Amy is challenging the oppression of their shared traditional culture’s patriarchy; Amy’s Mom was heartbroken at her husband taking a second wife, yet did nothing to object, though she seemed to want to. She seems genuinely relieved to have her daughter back, but we might also wonder whether it’s also a slight comfort that Amy is challenging the status quo. Perhaps she disagrees with the means Amy employed in standing up to the patriarchy, which in the end is really just another way of falling for female objectification, but Amy’s small rebellion was a monumental challenge to a system that, for her Mom, created misery and desolation, as she was relegated to the role of an old hag, of sorts.
Amy chooses not to wear the traditional dress purchased by her father just for the occasion; throughout the film she opens a closet to peer at the dress, and each time, thinking of the upcoming wedding, displays obvious signs of stress and sadness. She skips the ceremony and reception altogether and instead finds her place outside, among the wedding guests’ children, and begins jumping rope with them. For the first time in the entire film besides the opening scene when she creates the collage of her family, Amy is joyous, jumping with childlike abandon, somehow understanding that a kid’s place is with other kids, playing games and being innocent.
There is yet another theme in this film, and it regards parents neglecting their children. Amy’s friend complains that her parents never have time for her, too involved with running their business. Amy also had too much room to roam; as her family was preoccupied with the upcoming wedding, little attention was paid to the children. The reasons were different, but the results were the same: The kids ended up finding themselves in negative situations. Had there been more involved parenting, perhaps the girls wouldn’t have tried so hard to seek attention outside the home from older boys.
The film is a criticism of Western materialism and over-sexualization, but also makes a poignant commentary on traditional Muslim society as well. Of course, women who keep to their traditions have their community and also the benefit of a closeness with the Creator, but in both situations, misogynistic themes keep women controlled, not really free to exercise their creativity or full expression of their soul’s desires. One extreme of objectification is really not much better than the other, and each presents their own unique set of difficulties.
In the end, the film seems to suggest that the middle way, a secular culture that values concern for others, while not being overbearingly controlling, is most freeing. At the end of the film when Amy finds herself, she is wearing her ordinary school clothes like she did at the film’s opening, blue jeans and a simple blouse. She is neither wearing clothing of her traditional Muslim upbringing that demands she cover her body, nor the skimpy outfit she wore to her dance competition that reveals far too much.
She is just an ordinary girl once again, whose sexuality is secondary, and whose person-hood is again her most essential quality. The audience is left to wonder whether she’ll ever talk with her newly found friends ever again. Perhaps she will; perhaps not. We really don’t know.
I strongly suggest watching the film; if you’re not crying at the end, I propose that you’re either heartless, or without the capacity for comprehension. It’s not a film for your young daughters to watch alone; there’s just too much to unpack. The danger isn’t that they’ll emulate the twerking and jerking; there’s already ample pop culture for that. The real hazard is that they may not understand all that’s being presented so densely in the roughly ninety minutes the film is screened.
If you want to watch it with your children, all the better than doing so alone or with your spouse. Watch it as a family. It’s a great way to engage your kids in discussion of some heavy themes, and provoke conversations that might otherwise never happen, conversations that might be important (not too much) later on in their lives. From faith to femininity, from patriarchy to equality, it’s all there. Maybe even have your daughters come up with questions after the film’s over, and your family can attack them, one by one. Really, boys need to learn respect for girls, too, so there’s no reason this should be a girls-only night at the home box office.
And, it’s not just a cerebral film that provokes thought and discussion, though it is undeniably an exercise in mentation; there is just so much deep emotion in “Cuties,” it’s slightly overwhelming. The cinematography is superb; the film makes use of diverse camera angles and color and textural contrasts, and is interesting to watch. The girls’ voices are overdubbed. The only subtitles remaining in the film are when Amy’s elders speak to in her native Senegalese.
Seeing young girls twerk may be an image you find disturbing; fair enough. But what about seeing adult women twerking on top-rated music videos? Is that also disturbing? Remember, only a century ago, women and men would go to the beach completely covered, much as Islamic women still do to this day. What’s right? What’s proper? These are all good questions, questions that “Cuties” brings to the fore. Maybe society has gone too far, with our popular culture of twerking and overt sexuality. Maybe this isn’t the best message to send to our young girls, or the boys who will undoubtedly misunderstand how to relate to them.
The film inevitably makes us challenge the modes of living in both a traditional Muslim culture, where women must cover themselves and men rule, and contemporary popular culture, where women are invited to uncover themselves, and again, men rule. The takeaway is an over-sexualized culture, of any sort, is detrimental to women, and while sexuality cannot be ignored, it’s not of primary importance. The objectification of women happens only when we think of women only in terms of their sexual, and reproductive capacity, and the two are linked.
Is it hypocritical, or inconsistent, to feel that Cuties is a “powerful film,” as Twitter spokespersons have stated, while simultaneously feeling that young girls exhibiting such over-the-top sexuality is wrong? Can both be true simultaneously? Can a film elucidate one of our contemporary society’s problems while itself providing vivid examples of such? Is that, itself, a contradiction?
If Amy had not been depicted as suffering at the expense of her newfound habits and mode of expression, we would be hard pressed to find any lessons learned. But that’s just not the case; the entire film is about how Amy loses out by emulating the hyper-sexuality she sees online.
Does Amy find her liberation through her dance squad, or by posting nude pics of herself online? Of course not. Doucouré knows Amy cannot “find her freedom through that group of dancers and their hyper-sexualization” and asks us, “…is that really true freedom? Especially when you’re a kid? Of course not….I put my heart into this film because this is my story.”
This film is not merely entertainment, it is educative and edifying, and that’s what quality art should always be about. To call such a moving story “pedo-bait” is ridiculous; it’s really about getting us to examine our society and look where it’s uncomfortable to look, and ask questions we find disturbing. Hiding from what our society’s become is not the answer; rather, we must look at our world objectively and question where we wish to go from here.
List of organizations that combat human trafficking, courtesy of Wikipedia:
- 8th Day Center for Justice, a Roman Catholic organization based in Chicago, Illinois
- A21 Campaign, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to fight human trafficking
- ACT Alberta, a Canadian coalition of Government of Alberta representatives, non-governmental organizations, community organisations, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- Agape International Missions, a nonprofit organization in Cambodia
- Anti-Slavery International, works at local, national and international levels to eliminate all forms of slavery around the world
- Arizona League to End Regional Trafficking, a coalition representing partnerships with law enforcement, faith-based communities, non-profit organizations, social service agencies, attorneys and concerned citizens
- Awareness Against Human Trafficking (HAART), a non-governmental organization fighting against human trafficking in Kenya
- A Better World, based in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada
- British Red Cross, the United Kingdom body of the worldwide neutral and impartial humanitarian network
- California Against Slavery, a human rights organization directed at strengthening California state laws to protect victims of sex trafficking
- Chab Dai, a coalition founded by Helen Sworn that connects Christian organizations committed to ending sexual abuse and trafficking
- Challenging Heights is a grassroots, survivor-led NGO dedicated to ending child trafficking, reducing child slavery, and promoting children’s rights in Ghana
- Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, an international non-governmental organization opposing human trafficking, prostitution, and other forms of commercial sex
- Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, a nonprofit Los Angeles-based anti-human trafficking organization
- Devatop Centre for Africa Development, a nonprofit organization in Nigeria with focus on combating human trafficking, gender-based violence, and child abuse; and providing educational support to vulnerable children
- Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities Centre in the Greater Mekong Subregion (DEPDC/GMS), a non-profit NGO based in Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand, that works to prevent and protect children and youth from being trafficked into exploitative labor conditions
- Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, a collective of 65,000 sex workers in West Bengal
- ECPAT, an international non-governmental organisation and network headquartered in Thailand which is designed to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children
- The Emancipation Network, an international organization dedicated to fighting human trafficking and modern-day slavery
- EVE, an advocacy group based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
- Exoduscry, an organization in the US who fights human trafficking. 
- The Exodus Road, a non-profit coalition of organizations specialized in the intervention component of human trafficking, training and funding partnerships with local authorities to actively rescue people trapped in human trafficking in India, southeast Asia, and the United States
- Face to Face Bulgaria, an organization whose primary mission is to prevent cases of forced prostitution and human trafficking in Bulgaria
- Free the Slaves, dedicated to ending slavery worldwide
- Freedom Firm USA, Freedom Firm seeks to eliminate child prostitution in India by rescuing minor girls, providing effective rehabilitation and prosecuting the perpetrators of sex trafficking.
- Freeset, whose primary mission is to provide sustainable employment and economic empowerment to victims of sex trafficking in South Asia
- GABRIELA, a leftist Filipino organization that advocates for women’s issues
- Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, a non-profit organization that provides services to commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked girls and young women, based in Harlem, New York
- Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, a network of more than 100 non-governmental organisations from all regions of the world, who share a deep concern for the women, children and men whose human rights have been violated by the criminal practice of trafficking in persons
- Global Centurion Foundation, an anti-trafficking organization fighting human trafficking by focusing on demand, based in Washington D.C., United States
- Hope for Justice, which identifies and rescues victims, advocates on their behalf, provides restorative care which rebuilds lives and trains frontline professionals to tackle slavery
- Ing Makababaying Aksyon, a feminist service institution that seeks to empower women and work for a society that genuinely recognises and upholds women’s rights
- International Justice Mission, a U.S.-based non-profit human rights organization that operates in countries all over the world to rescue victims of individual human rights abuse
- Love Justice International, a Christian nonprofit organization dedicated to helping orphaned and abandoned children and fighting sex trafficking in South Asia
- Love146, works for the abolition of child trafficking and slavery
- Maiti Nepal, a non-profit organization in Nepal dedicated to helping victims of sex trafficking
- Mongolian Gender Equality Center, a non-governmental organization based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
- NASHI, a Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada-based organisation that opposes human trafficking by raising awareness through education
- Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons, a government agency responsible for coordinating efforts to address human trafficking in British Columbia, Canada
- Operation Underground Railroad
- Physicians for Human Rights
- Polaris Project, a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that works to combat and prevent modern day slavery and human trafficking
- PREDA Foundation, a charitable organization that was founded in Olongapo City, Philippines in 1974
- Prerana, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that works in the red-light districts of Mumbai, India to protect children vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. The organization runs three night care centers for children at risk, as well as shelter homes and a residential training center for girls rescued from the trafficking trade.
- Ratanak International, an organisation that rescues children from sexual slavery and then provides them with education, rehabilitation, and safety
- Reaching Out Romania, a non-governmental charitable organization in Romania that helps girls ages 13 to 22 exit the sex industry
- Redlight Children Campaign, a non-profit organization created by New York lawyer and president of Priority Films Guy Jacobson and Israeli actress Adi Ezroni in 2002 to combat worldwide child sexual exploitation and human trafficking
- Renew Foundation, a Christian non-profit non-government organization in the Philippines dedicated to empowering female survivors of human trafficking and prostitution in the Philippines
- Ricky Martin Foundation, an organization with the mission to advocate for the well-being of children around the world
- Ride for Refuge, a cycling event that raises awareness and funds for displaced persons, including human trafficking victims
- Run for Courage, a nonprofit organization that combats human trafficking
- Shared Hope International, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization which exists to rescue and restore women and children in crisis
- Slavery Footprint, a nonprofit organization based in Oakland, California that works to end human trafficking and modern-day slavery
- Stop Child Trafficking Now, an organization founded by Lynette Lewis, an author and public speaker
- Stop the Traffik, a campaign coalition which aims to bring an end to human trafficking worldwide
- Third World Movement Against the Exploitation of Women, an organization directed towards the liberation of women from all kinds of oppression and exploitation based on sex, race or class
- Thorn, aka Digital Defenders of Children; Ashton Kutcher’s organization driving tech innovation to fight child trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children
- Truckers Against Trafficking, a nonprofit organization that trains truck drivers to recognize and report instances of human trafficking
- Unlikely Heroes, a non-profit that rescues and restores child victims of slavery worldwide and places them in their seven safe homes in the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico, and the United States
- Visayan Forum Foundation, a non-profit, non-stock and tax-exempt non-government organization in the Philippines established in 1991
- Vital Voices, an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization that works with women leaders in the areas of economic empowerment, women’s political participation, and human rights