NEW YORK (CBS) No stranger to issues of social justice, Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon is speaking out against human sex trafficking in a new campaign aimed at raising funds for victims.
"I just find the whole idea of sex trafficking with children is a nightmare you can't even believe is real," Sarandon, long known for her work with UNICEF and other various humanitarian organizations, said in a recent interview with CBSNews.com.
What can people do to help?
"That's a very good question; you can go to TheBodyShop.com where the petition is and Somaly.org. You could go to The Body Shop and make a donation...It's good that you ask that because people get all riled up but then they don't know what to do," Sarandon said.
In a joint effort with The Body Shop, Sarandon is speaking out against an issue which many have pushed to the shadows. And, as she is quick to note, the child sex trade is prevalent everywhere, even where some may not expect.
Sarandon said, "Sex trafficking happens everywhere. People profit from it who are also connected to governments. It's definitely exists within the United States...Kids coming from other countries. The problem exists right here."
Statistics back up the actress' claims. The U.S. Justice Department estimates that anywhere from 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States every single year. But the number of U.S. children faced with being potentially trafficked is much higher. As many as 200,000 American children are at risk of being forced into the sex trade industry.
Sarandon told us why she's speaking out on an issue so graphic that many cannot even bear to think about. "The only way that it will stop is to educate people because it's such a horrible thing to think about, that you don't even want to think about."
Indeed, perhaps her star-power will get people to think about the children who often go forgotten.