Ashton Kutcher has spoken out about his role in freeing 6000 victims from sex trafficking.
For the Hollywood star, it wasn’t a role in the typical sense that he was discussing.
What many people don’t realize about Ashton Kutcher, is that off-screen, he’s a prominent activist and a very successful businessman.
While Mr. Kutcher may often play dizzy characters on TV or in movies, in real life, he’s a thriving entrepreneur.
He’s founded investment firms that are accredited with early investing in major tech firms like Uber, Spotify, and Airbnb.
Using his business acumen, connections, and profile, Ashton Kutcher set up an organization called Thorn with his ex-wife Demi Moore in 2008.
The goal of Thorn is something dear to Ashton’s heart: To “build technology to defend children from sexual abuse.”
And, it’s working.
Ashton Kutcher rescued 6000 victims of sex trafficking
Ashton Kutcher was a guest on “The Today Program” and was there to talk to hosts Kathie Lee and Hoda about the new season of his Netflix original series, “The Cattle ranch.”
But, for Mr. Kutcher, he felt it was far more critical to discuss his organization’s work instead: To end child pornography and human sex trafficking.
During the interview, Kutcher informs the hosts about Thorn’s work.
Through his work with Thorn, Kutcher has learned that practically all sex trafficking victims have something in common: they’re targeted online.
Speaking on the show, he explains:
“We’re building digital tools to fight human trafficking.
“Basically, the purchase and commerce for human trafficking is happening online, just like everything else now, and so we’re building digital tools to fight back against it.”
Thorn’s self-described objective is “to drive tech innovation in the fight against trafficking.”
On the company’s site, it discusses simply how it tackles its work:
“We partner across the tech industry, government and NGOs and leverage technology to combat predatory behavior, rescue victims, and protect vulnerable children.
“The site also lists 20 members of what it calls The Thorn Technology Task Force, comprised of technology companies that lend their knowledge, time and resources to the work that we do.
“Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Adobe are listed among the names who are helping Thorn’s cause.”
So far, Thorn has been a quiet success, with some impressive, real-world numbers to back up its objective declaration, as Kutcher discusses:
“We’ve built a tool to help law enforcement prioritize their caseload and recover victims and find traffickers.
“And we’ve found and identified and recovered over 6,000 trafficking victims this year.
“And we’ve found, identified, and recovered 2,000 traffickers.”
Ashton Kutcher says Thorn has bigger plans
However, Kutcher states he and his company aren’t stopping there– they’re also working to a genuinely ambitious humanitarian goal:
“Our next battle, my next commitment… I’m going to make a pledge that I’m going to eliminate child pornography from the internet.”
Thorn’s method– using internet technology to discover victims and their captors– is apt since the significant hazard to victims isn’t white vans parked on corners with kidnappers waiting for passersby: it’s online.
Disturbing data which the organization compiled highlights that everyday websites like Craigslist are often used as a method of doing business in the illegal sex industry.
Even scarier, is that in 2015, 75 percent of child sex trafficking survivors that Thorn surveyed were eventually “sold” online.
Asia, a survivor who talked to Thorn during a 2015 study, informed the organization:
“People are posted and sold online multiple times a day.
“As far as the ad that was posted up [for me], there was a girl who eerily looked like me… just [like] you can go find a car, there was a picture, and a description, and a price.”
Anti-human trafficking group Polaris reports that The International Labor Organization estimates 4.5 million people are presently working against their will for sex traffickers.
And the underground sex economy in 2014 was worth $290 million in Atlanta, Georgia, alone, according to an Urban Institute study.
What YOU can do to prevent sex trafficking
The facts show that porn and sex trafficking are inseparably linked.
SHARE this short article to raise awareness on precisely what’s taking place and to stop the demand.
Check out the following not-for-profit companies to find out more about how you can get directly associated with the battle against sex trafficking:
This Washington D.C.-based nonprofit is one of the most acknowledged organizations in the international fight to eliminate contemporary slavery.
Called after the North Star that assisted servants to liberty in the U.S., Polaris systemically disrupts the human trafficking networks by helping the survivors to restore their liberty, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and innovation to pursue traffickers any place they run.
Visit the Polaris Project website here.
Rescue: Freedom International
Based in Seattle, Washington, this not-for-profit has partner websites in 8 nations, which support sex trafficking victims and provides “anything and everything a survivor needs to experience long-lasting healing and remediation.”
While regional partners are working on the ground, Rescue: Freedom is the supply line for that work by offering operational financing, scholarships, training, best practices, facilities, and other vital resources.
Visit the Rescue: Freedom International website here.
Operation Underground Railroad
O.U.R. takes a boots-on-the-ground approach to combatting sex trafficking by gathering trained extraction operations experts to bring an end to child slavery.
O.U.R.’s Underground Jump Team includes previous CIA, Navy SEALs, and Special Ops operatives that lead collaborated identification and extraction efforts.
These operations are always in combination with law enforcement throughout the world.
Visit the Operation Underground Railroad website here.
By simply sharing this information with your friends and family, you too can make a real difference.
By uniting and raising awareness, we can hope to one day end these horrific crimes.
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”