ABOVE PHOTO: Jada and Will Smith with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ambassador-At-Large Louis CdeBaca and Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights at the launch of the TIP (Trafficking in Persons) Report 2012 at the Department of State.
It’s not every day that your 11-year-old wants to have a conversation about human trafficking and sex slavery.
But that’s exactly what happened to Jada Pinkett Smith when daughter Willow broached the topic after watching the KONY 2012 video (about a Ugandan warlord) that went viral this spring.
“She did her own research and realized that there were young girls her age in this country being trafficked for sex,” Pinkett Smith remembers. “She was like, ‘Mommy — you don’t know what’s happening!’ I was like, ‘Hold up, pause right there!’ And, she was like, ‘I’ve got to give my voice to this. These young girls out there need me.’ “
That simple directive from Willow, who has gained fame herself with a hot music career, pushed Pinkett Smith, 40, to ally herself with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the fight against human trafficking and sex slavery. The Madagascar 3 star and husband Will Smith visited the State Department Tuesday for Clinton’s release of the 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report, which details the nation’s anti-trafficking efforts.
“I was actually really quite ashamed that I didn’t know about this particular situation in our country, because when you think about human trafficking, you think about it ‘over there.’ Wherever ‘there’ is,” Pinkett Smith says.
That guilt, however, is fueling her activism for the sensitive issue. Pinkett Smith recorded the song Nada Se Compara with her band Wicked Evolution and starred in a video directed by Salma Hayek, which is posted on the site DontSellBodies.org.
Pinkett Smith is also using the macro platform of anti-trafficking to continue important micro conversations with Willow.
CNN contributed to this report