How often do you get choked up talking about your “day job”? That’s just what happened on February 15th of this year when Ashton Kutcher testified before Congress about the issue of sex trafficking. You may know from him from “That 70’s Show” or “Two and a Half Men” or one his many movie roles, but you may not know about his “day job”.
Kutcher is an entrepreneur, technology developer, humanitarian, father of two, and the founder of Thorn. Thorn is an organization that builds software to fight human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children.
In 2008, Kutcher started Thorn with his ex-wife Demi Moore. Thorn’s mission is to eliminate sex-trafficking and child exploitation over the internet.
To date, Thorn has helped rescue and recover nearly 6,000 victims, 2,000 of whom were minors.
The Thorn Task Force is comprised of 20 tech companies that dedicate time and resources to searching the darker corners of the internet for potential danger and fraud. These companies include names like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo!, Snapchat, and Imgur.
“New innovations will always be adopted for both good and evil purposes,” says Jim Pitkow, Chairman of the Thorn Technical Task Force. “At Thorn, we tip the scales in favor of good by stopping exploitation and protecting our children.”
A couple of weeks ago, Kutcher testified at a hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, D.C., as part of his continuing efforts to put an end to the deplorable practices of modern slavery and human trafficking.
Kutcher opened his apperance before Congress with a statement regarding his purpose for appearing:
“I’m here today to defend the right to pursue happiness. It’s a simple notion. It’s bestowed upon all of us by our Constitution…But the right to pursue happiness, for so many, is stripped away. It’s raped. It’s abused. It’s taken by force, fraud or coercion. It is sold for the momentary happiness of another.”
Kutcher goes on to defend the fact that he is predominantly perceived of as a celebrity and is often told he should stick to acting and stay out of politics. He then describes what he really considers to be his “day job” – the Chairman and Co-Founder of Thorn.
“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.
“For years now, Thorn has been committed to building tech tools to combat child sexual exploitation and facilitating collaborations across [the] tech industry to disrupt these crimes. We have no intention of stopping until we win this battle.”
Kutcher presented the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a proposal for joining forces in the initiative to end modern slavery: financial resources for building more innovative technology; to join forces in fostering private and public relationships that further the mission; and for law enforcement and government agencies to recognize and act-upon the trafficking pipeline.
So yes, you may know him as a famous actor. But he’s passionate, determined, and active about eradicating sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. That’s his day job.
And that’s a job worth getting choked up about.
For more information about Thorn, visit their website at wearethorn.org