Ashton Kutcher Testifies about Human Trafficking to Senate

Trevor Wickstrom, Staff Reporter

Ashton Kutcher, the co-founder of an organization called Thorn: Digital Defenders of children, along with Elisa Massimino, President and Executive Officer of Human Rights First, testified on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, at a hearing in front of the Senate of Foreign Relations Committee.

Although Kutcher is better known as an actor, he spoke out on the issue of Human Trafficking and what he believes should be done, with the new administration in office, to end human trafficking.  The video of part of his testimony has gone viral.

Kutcher and his co-founder shined light on the dark and vile world of being a father and fighting human trafficking. According to CNN, Kutcher states “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.  He continued, “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.”

Thorn have innovated a digital tool called Spotlight, to identify traffickers themselves, but also victims of the traffickers.

According to Thorn, there have been a total of 6,325 victims identified, 1,980 children identified, and 2,186 traffickers identified. Spotlight has saved up to 60% of the critical time it takes to rescue the victims and catch the traffickers.

Thorn also innovated a software to search what they call the “dark web” for human traffickers and victims.

In the midst of this testimony, Kutcher stated certain ways to fight human trafficking. Which include more funding for relevant technology, creating relations with private sectors, and being more proactive with finding victims, working with foster kids, and also different legislative initiatives.

The speech wasn’t purely serious, despite the subject. There were cheerful moments in the speech, that include Senator John McCain telling Kutcher “You were better looking in the movies”, followed by a kiss blown to Sen. McCain by Kutcher.