Finding over 2,000 children involved in sex trafficking, Ashton Kutcher shared his moving testimony about the young victims through his co-founded organization Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children in a hearing about combating modern slavery at the Capitol Hill.
Kutcher passionately delivered his 15-minute opening testimony, praising the committee for bipartisan cooperation on the issue. His voice cracked multiple times as he recount victims’ stories, considering his opportunity to speak as “one of the greatest honors of my life.”
“As part of my anti-trafficking work, I’ve met victims in Russia, I’ve met victims in India, I’ve met victims that have been trafficked from Mexico, victims from New York and New Jersey and all across our country. I’ve been on FBI raids where I’ve seen things that no person should ever see,” Kutcher said. “I’ve seen video content of a child that’s the same age as mine being raped by an American man that was a sex tourist in Cambodia. And this child was so conditioned by her environment that she thought she was engaging in play.”
The actor claimed technology’s importance as a tool that can be used to disable slavery, citing specific progress from their organization themselves.
“It’s working. In six months, with 25% of our users reporting, we’ve identified over 6,000 trafficking victims, 2,000 of which are minors. This tool has enhanced 4,000 law enforcement officials in 900 agencies. And we’re reducing the investigation time by 60%,” he furthered, also introducing the software tool “Spotlight.”
Urging people to act, Kutcher discussed the issue and ways on how we can help stop the trafficking including including additional funding for the technology, fostering public-private sector relationships, looking into the pipeline for victims, including working with the foster care system and the mental health system, and differentiating solution sets for sex trafficking and labor trafficking with enforcement and legislation initiatives.
People commended Kutcher’s work, tagging it as “inspirational,” and “a true testament to entrepreneurialism and people taking a risk toward social good.”