Kirsters Baish| I think all sane Americans can agree that the buying and selling of humans is wrong, and obviously illegal. Many of us live our everyday lives, never thinking about the possibility that one of our own family members would be subjected to such a horrific fate. After all, slavery has been illegal in the United States since 1863, thanks to the Emancipation Proclamation. The unfortunate reality is that evil people exist, as does slavery.
Human sex trafficking has become a horrible reality in our world. Many people are not aware of this issue, and others simply ignore it because there seems to be no end in sight. One actor/father decided to stand up for those who cannot use their voices.
40-year-old Ashton Kutcher felt that it was time to stand up and fight back again human sex trafficking by starting a nonprofit organization called Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children. The organization, which was previously called the DNA Foundation, was founded by the actor and his then-wife, Demi Moore.
There are currently around 20 full-time staff members working for the charity, and its partnerships continue to flourish. Kutcher’s organization is going a lot more than raising awareness about human sex trafficking, however. This organization is actually making a significant difference.
The nonprofit was “able to identify 5,791 child sex trafficking victims and rescue 103 children from situations where their sexual abuse was recorded and distributed,” this year alone, as reported by the Thorn webpage. This brings the total number of child victims that were helped by the charity up to 5,894, 5,894 children who would have otherwise been lost in the sex trafficking rings of the world.
The primary goal of this organization is creating a technology task force that creates online tools to stop sex trafficking and find the perpetrators. Through this task force, they have partnered with over 25 companies, including Google, Amazon web services, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and many more.
Law enforcement utilizes this task force in global investigations on sex trafficking, increasing their investigation time up to 65 percent. This increases the amount of victims found and aided in their distress.
In addition to the task force, Kutcher has created a “deterrence program,” which finds individuals who are actively seeking this child sexual abuse material.
“Our child sexual abuse deterrence program has seen over 2.6 million visitors and 140,000+ instances where individuals went on to actively seek further help,” the nonprofit’s website explains.
When all is said and done, the group is hoping to teach teenagers on the dangers of sex trafficking and just how prevalent it is. The organization’s “Stop Sextortion” campaign is said to have educated 3.5 million teenagers around the country about how important it is to ask for help if you are ever put in this kind of situation.
Mr. Kutcher spoke to 48 Hours explaining, “What we do at our core is we build technology to help fight sexual exploitation of children. You can roll up your sleeves and go try to be like a hero and go save one person, or you can build a tool that allows one person to save a lot of people.”
The actor testified in court before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last February in order to speak about his own ideas on the sex trafficking problem in our world.
He stated, “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.”
Watch Kutcher’s entire opening statement below:
It’s always inspiring to see someone who has so much going on in their lives, including a busy work schedule and a family, make time for those who truly need the help. If you would like to get involved with the charity, take a look at the link to the Thorn webpage.