On Wednesday, Ashton Kutcher spoke in front of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee to seek funding for his anti-human trafficking organization, Thorn. Thorn, which Kutcher co-founded, seeks to end the sexual exploitation, abuse and trafficking of children through technology. Kutcher told the committee, “Technology can be used to enable slavery, but technology can also be used to disable slavery. Can we build the tools that are better than their tools to fight what is happening?”
Kutcher explained how law enforcement agencies are understaffed and unequipped to deal with the sheer number of trafficking cases, but Thorn’s software, “Spotlight” can shorten the amount of time it takes ”from three years to three weeks.” Spotlight, he said, was able to locate 6,000 victims in just six months. Kutcher said, “The technology we're building is efficient, nimble, enduring, and it only gets smarter with time.” He continued, “It's taking the internet, which is largely anonymous, and making it far less anonymous.”
One committee member, Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, brought up Trump’s travel ban and how it might affect human trafficking victims: “Could they have come in under that ban? When we say we are going to protect these victims, we must look for every possible way to accomplish this goal.”
Kutcher agreed that refugees are the most exposed to traffickers: “When people are left out and not supported and not given love they need to grow, it becomes an incubator for trafficking.”
Kutcher shared a horrific example of human trafficking to hammer the point home: “I've seen video content of a child that's the same age as mine, being raped by an American man who was a sex tourist in Cambodia. This child was so conditioned by her environment that she thought she was engaging in play.”
Kutcher spoke about his “other day job” of being a father to two children, whom he has with wife Mila Kunis. Kutcher said, “It is my effort to defend their right to pursue happiness and to assure a society and government that defends it as well.”
Watch Kutcher’s full hearing below, and be sure to check out Thorn’s website as well.
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