Everyone is familiar of Ashton Kutcher, the dashing 40-year-old actor famous for starring in That 70’s Show, Punk’d, The Ranch and for modelling for Calvin Klein. A lot of people may know him for his killer smile and superb acting. But did you know that the popular actor is actively fighting to stop human sex trafficking and child pornography?!
Eleven years ago, Ashton Kutcher and his former wife, the veteran actress Demi Moore, founded an organization which they called Thorn. Their organizations mission? Eliminate sex trafficking and save the life of the victims of sexual abuse.
When the philanthropist was invited as a guest on Kathie Lee’s On Today Show, the actor had the opportunity to discuss and promote, not only his new television series, The Ranch, but as well as his Thorn’s success.
According to the compassionate actor, him and the people behind Thorn had saved over 6,000 trafficking victims and recovered 2,000 of the traffickers themselves.
With this huge figure, Ashton and Thorn noticed an alarming trend, apparently all of the victims they have rescued were all sold online! Online! As if they were not humans but products waiting to be consumed.
“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.” The actor said, sharing how their organization focused on human trafficking occurring online.
“We partner across the tech industry, government and NGOs and leverage technology to combat predatory behavior, rescue victims, and protect vulnerable children.” Ashton added, explaining that they are other people working with them to join their cause.
Aside from the organizations mentioned, there are also another 20 members of what they call as The Thorn Technology Task Force. This special force is composed of technology specialist companies who are willing to lend their knowledge, time, and resources to make the world a better place. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Adobe are some of the companies helping Thorn.
“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 revealed.
Since it’s been built, Thorn has gathered a large amount of data showing how common trafficking is. Nowadays, you don’t even have to go to the dark web in order to have an access in it. You can even find it on Craigslist!
In a survey Thorn had conducted in year 2015, 75% of the victims they rescued said that they had been sold online at least once. One of the young girls they have rescued, which they referred to as Asia shared that, “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.”
According to the actor, although his organization has saved a lot of people already, he wishes to get rid of human trafficking on the internet completely.
According to Polaris, an anti-trafficking organization, Ashton Kutcher’s desire is even harder to accomplish than a herculean task. Their gathered reports say that around 4.5 million people are trapped in working against their will due to human trafficking industry.
At this age, it is beyond heartbreaking to know that human trafficking, illegal force labor, sexual slavery and exploitation are still happening. Worse is that it is happening online, making it even more accessible.
But as long as we have people like Ashton Kutcher who are exerting time, effort, and resources to stop this disgusting crime, there is hope for the future!
Learn more about Ashton Kutcher’s honorable cause by watching his interview below!
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Photos and Video | TODAY and Thorn