(Josie Wales) Ashton Kutcher took a break from the big screen on Wednesday to deliver a compelling testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing to help end sex trafficking and modern-day abuse. The 39-year-old actor is also the chairman and co-founder of a company called Thorn, which utilizes advanced technology to detect, deter, and even prevent instances of sex trafficking and abuse.
by Josie Wales, February 17th, 2017
Kutcher began his passionate testimony by thanking the committee, noting:
“This is a bipartisan effort, and in a country that is riddled with bipartisan separation on so many things, slavery seems to come up as one of these issues that we can all agree upon.”
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He then went on to explain what inspired him to double down in his fight against sex-trafficking and pedophiles:
“I’ve been on the other end of a phone call from my team asking for my help, because we had received a call from the Department of Homeland Security telling us that a seven-year-old girl was being sexually abused and that content was being spread around the dark web and she’d been being abused and they’d watched her for three years and they could not find the perpetrator. Asking us for help. We were the last line of defense, an actor and his foundation were the potential last line of defense.”
Ashton Kutcher got emotional when describing what he experienced throughout the course of his work:
“I’ve been on FBI raids where I’ve seen things that no person should ever see. 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. This child was so conditioned by her environment that she thought she was engaging in play.”
The entrepreneur and venture capitalist talked about Thorn and the software they’ve developed to fight sex trafficking. “Spotlight” is a program that identifies an average of five kids per day and is used by over 4,000 officers in all 50 states. It’s modeled around a neural network, which is a deep learning technology that gets smarter as it accumulates data. An agent with the Wisconsin Human Trafficking Task Force has called it “the greatest tool we have in the fight against human trafficking.”
Thorn has identified over 2,100 traffickers and has rescued more than 6,300 victims. As Ashton Kutcher mentioned, “Technology can be used to enable slavery, but it can also be used to disable slavery, and that’s what we’re doing.”
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