The That 70s Show actor co-founded his company Thorn with his then-wife Demi Moore in 2012, after the pair learned about child sex trafficking from a documentary.
After it became apparent technology was playing a role in crimes of child sex trafficking, the Thorn team sought to create ‘tech-led approaches’ to bringing an end to the issue; something Kutcher addressed during a speech to the US Senate in 2017.
Hear him discuss the matter below:
Kutcher described himself as having two day jobs: one as the chairman and co-founder of Thorn, and the second being a father of two young children.
“As part of that job that I take very seriously I believe it is my effort to defend their right to pursue happiness and to ensure a society and government that defends it as well. But the right to pursue happiness for so many is stripped away,” he told the Senate.
According to Thorn’s website, technology developed by the company has helped identify a total of 24,366 victimised children since its inception, with more than 2,700 companies using Thorn’s tools to help children in need. Almost 4,000 children were identified in 2021 alone, the year’s impact report explains.
Kutcher’s involvement in tackling the issue was put in the spotlight through a post on Reddit on Sunday (8 May), which included the video of him speaking to the Senate along with the caption: “Shoutout to this man Ashton Kutcher, who went from being an actor to fighting to end child sex trafficking. His organization helped find 6000 human trafficking victims. Respect!”
The ‘6000’ figure appears to reference Thorn’s 2017 impact report, which revealed 5,894 child sex trafficking victims were identified and 103 children were rescued from ‘situations where their sexual abuse was recorded and distributed’.
Responding to the clip on Reddit, one user praised the actor for having ‘stepped out of the spotlight almost entirely to focus on helping sex trafficking victims’, adding: “This is a man who uses his fame and money to do good. Every time I hear about what he’s doing now, a little more faith in humanity is restored.”
Another commented: “I’ve always had respect for Ashton. For this, I have mad respect. He inspires me.”
In a release earlier this year, Thorn CEO Julie Cordua said the company would be ‘doubling down on [its] efforts to build a safer internet for children, now and for generations to come’.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111.