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Ashton Kutcher gives powerful and emotional speech against sex-trafficking before Senate

By Monique Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
2/16/2017 (7 months ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It is imperative for people to understand the importance of protective change.

Ashton Kutcher, known for his roles in "That 70s Show" and "Punk'd," is more than just an actor.

Ashton Kutcher spoke on behalf of sex-trafficking victims and other innocents.

Ashton Kutcher spoke on behalf of sex-trafficking victims and other innocents.

Highlights

By Monique Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
2/16/2017 (7 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Ashton Kutcher, anti-sex trafficking, victims, Senate


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Kutcher and his ex-wife Demi Moore founded Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children, which builds software designed to fight human trafficking.

The site explains there are 7.5 million cybertipline reports of pedophiles approaching children online. Forty-two percent of "sextortion victims" met their perpetrators online.


Taking the issue further, Kutcher came before the Senate Foreign relations Committee to share a passionate and heartbreaking testimony.

First, he praised the committee for allowing "one of the greatest honors of my life," which was to speak before them Wednesday morning.

He shared some of the horrible sights he's seen and urged the United States to make a greater impact to fight modern slavery.

"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 the country.

"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. And this child was so conditioned by her environment that she thought she was engaging in play."

Kutcher's voice broke several times during his speech before he finally pushed for technological tools to disable modern day slavery.

He spoke of his site, Thorn, saying: "It's working. In six months, with 25 percent 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 percent" with a tool called "Spotlight."

Kutcher spoke on behalf of victims around the world.

Kutcher spoke on behalf of victims around the world.


Another online tool, "Solis," has sped up the investigation process of "dark web material" from three years to a mere three weeks.

Kutcher called for action. He pressed for additional funding for the technology, for the promotion of public-private sector relationships, actively searching for victims  - which includes working within the foster care and mental health systems - and better differentiating solutions for sex trafficking and labor trafficking victims with law enforcement and legislation initiatives.

"When people are left out, when they're neglected, when they're not supported, and when they're not given the love they need to grow, it becomes an incubator for trafficking, and this refugee crisis, if we want to be serious about ending slavery, we cannot ignore them, we cannot ignore our support for this issue in that space, because otherwise, we're going to have to deal with it for years to come."

Unlike some celebrities who ride the wave of popular culture, Kutcher spoke eloquently and knowledgeably.

Committee Chairman Senator Bob Corker later called Kutcher's works "inspirational" and "a true testament to entrepreneurialism and people taking a risk toward social good."

He even took to Twitter to write: "Thankful for Ashton Kutcher and the work @thorn is doing to rescue trafficking victims. It was great to have him on the Hill today."


Though the topic of discussion was extremely serious, there was a lighter moment when Sen. John McCain, who is not a member of the committee, came to thank its members for their dedication and saw Kutcher.

"Ashton, you were better looking in the movies," he stated, to which Kutcher light-heartedly responded with a kiss blown from his hand, adding his wife thought he looked better in the movies as well.

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