Celebrities Leverage Online Video to Combat Child Sex Trafficking

The Demi and Ashton (DNA) Foundation recently launched a high-profile online video initiative to fight child sex trafficking. The series “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” features major celebrity appearances by names like Bruce Willis, Justin Timberlake, and even Pete Cashmore – founder of the social media news site Mashable.com. The interactive campaign encourages users to submit their own “Real Man” video – using the slogans “I am a Real Man” or “I prefer a Real Man” – and upload them to the DNA Foundation’s Facebook fanpage. In the video above, Isaiah Mustafa (commonly known as “The Old Spice Guy”) and Mashable founder Pete Cashmore tip their hat to the cause. According to the DNA Foundation, the videos – and the organization itself – aim “to raise awareness about child sex slavery, change the cultural stereotypes that facilitate this horrific problem, and rehabilitate innocent victims.”

Crossover Day Update

Crossover Day – the second longest work day on the Georgia General Assembly calendar – has wrapped up leaving some key juvenile justice and child-focused bills dead for the 2011 session. SB 127, also known as the Juvenile Code Rewrite and HB 185, the Runaway Youth Safety Act, that would allow homeless shelters to provide emergency housing and services to runaway children, are among the measures that didn’t meet the crucial deadline. VIEW SOME OF THE KEY JUVENILE JUSTICE AND CHILD-FOCUSED LEGISLATION. “It had not made it out of [the] Rules [Committee] in time and that’s very disappointing,” says HB 185 sponsor Tom Weldon (R – Ringgold). “It looked like it was going to progress.”

HB 265, which supports Governor Nathan Deal’s recent effort to assemble a new bi-partisan council to study criminal justice reforms and make recommendations to a joint legislative committee, was overwhelmingly approved by the House, 169-1.

Scared Straight! Graduate Plays Starring Role in Cold Case Crime

Angelo Speziale may be the most infamous graduate of Scared Straight! As a scrawny 16-year-old, he appeared in the original Scared Straight! documentary filmed at New Jersey’s Rahway State Prison in 1978.  Now he’s back–serving 25-to-life in Rahway for the 1982 rape and murder of a teenage girl who lived next door to him. Proponents of “Scared Straight” claim the program literally scares kids away from a life of crime.  In a follow-up show called Scared Straight: 20 Years Later, Speziale echoed this, claiming the experience changed him.  Apparently not enough.  He was arrested for shoplifting in 2005 and a DNA sample linked him to the 30-year-old cold case murder for which he was convicted in 2010.  A New Jersey law enforcement source confirms Angelo Speziale is the same person who appeared in both documentaries.