WATCH: Ashton Kutcher testifies against human trafficking
MANILA, Philippines – In an emotional speech, Ashton Kutcher testified against human and sex trafficking at a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, February 15.
The hearing was held to look into the progress that the US is making in ending human trafficking.
Ashton spoke as the chairman of Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children, a company that builds software to fight human trafficking. Thorn is a company Ashton co-founded with his former wife Demi Moore in 2010.
"The right to pursue happiness for so many is stripped away, it's raped, it's abused, it's taken by force," Ashton started.
He continued, praising the government's bipartisan effort on ending modern slavery.
"Now, this is about the time I start talking about politics that the internet trolls tell me to stick to my day job. So I'd like to talk about my day job," Ashton said. "My day job is as the chairman and co-founder of Thorn. We build software to fight human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. My other day job is that of a father of two: a 2-month-old and a 2-year-old, and 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."
Ashton has two kids with his wife, actress Mila Kunis. Wyatt Isabelle was born in October 2014, while their son Dimitri Portwood was born in November 2016.
Ashton spoke about his experiences in his fight against human trafficking and the technology that Thorn has developed to fight it.
"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," Ashton said. "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."
The tool Spotlight, he said, had identified 6,000 trafficking victims – 2,000 of which were minors – in 6 months. The tool is being used by law enforcement officials and has cut investigation time by 60%.
Solis, another tool they are developing, is being used by agencies in its beta form, said Ashton, to investigate trafficking issues on the dark web.
Ashton concluded by speaking about the action they can take from there – funding for technology, fostering private-public partnerships, and support for the foster care system and the mental health system.
Ashton spoke alongside Elisa Massimino, the president and CEO of Human Rights First.
According to APlus, the testimony took place in coordination with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman senator Bob Corker and his efforts on the issue.
On Twitter, Ashton said about his testimony: "It's not just my job, it's my duty to the global community. Everyone has the right to pursue happiness."
It's not just my job, it's my duty to the global community. Everyone has the right to pursue happiness. https://t.co/kMJK1SyN6R— ashton kutcher (@aplusk) February 16, 2017