You think “Ashton Kutcher,” and you might think That ’70s Show, or Punk’d.
Well, he’s got a new day job, and he’s not punking us now.
Ashton Kutcher spoke to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday about his work fighting child exploitation and human trafficking — as well as being a father of two (with wife Mila Kunis). He appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as a representative of Thorn, an organization he co-founded to create anti-trafficking software and strategies.
Thorn’s website describes the work they do.
“We partner across the tech industry, government and NGOs and leverage technology to combat predatory behavior, rescue victims, and protect vulnerable children.”
Kutcher is no silent partner in this important work. He speaks extensively with sex-trafficking victims in the U.S. and around the globe and also hunts down exploitive material shared on the dark web, which is then handed over to authorities.
In his emotional, powerful testimony, he explained to the committee, “I’m here today to defend the right to pursue happiness. But the right to pursue happiness for so many is stripped away. It’s raped, it’s abused, it’s taken by force, fraud or coercion… It’s sold for the momentary happiness of another.”
The video of his testimony is below, and it’s worth watching.
With its anti-trafficking software Spotlight, Thorn has helped to identify 6,000 trafficking victims in just six months. Two thousand of these victims were minors. According to Kutcher, Spotlight is making a massive difference. Investigation times of these cases have decreased by 60 percent across the 900 law enforcement agencies using the software.
But Kutcher believes it’s not enough, not even close.
“Technology can be used to enable slavery, but technology can also be used to disable slavery,” he said.
We wish more celebs would use their voices to speak out for causes they believe in — especially one as devastating as this.
Want to learn more about Thorn? Check out the website, where there’s a link if you’re interested in volunteering: wearethorn.org.