Celebrities have recently taken a lot of heat for getting too much into politics. Yesterday however, Ashton Kutcher got involved for a very good reason.
Kutcher is the current chairman and co-founder of Thorn, an organization that is committed to using technology to help stop child exploitation/slavery. The software that is created by Thorn is used by law enforcement officials to help with the investigations of human trafficking cases. Kutcher is an advocate to helping end slavery around the world, and on Wednesday he testified in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Kutcher testified to the committee for the sole purpose of helping end child exploitation/slavery, and his opening remarks showed his commitment to that, which is stated below.
“I’m here today to defend the right to pursue happiness,” he said. “It’s a simple notion. It’s bestowed upon all of us by our Constitution. Every citizen in this country has the right to pursue it and I believe that is incumbent upon us as citizens of this nation, as Americans, to bestow that right upon others. Upon each other and upon the rest of the world. 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 spoke about his experiences from working with Thorn, and it even got to the point where he got emotional about the subject, and rightfully so. The reason that Kutcher got emotional was because he began to describe how he was unable to give the Department of Homeland Security the right technology that would help locate a girl that was being raped, filmed, and posted on the web.
Kutcher has a lot to be proud of during his work with Thorn. During the hearing, Kutcher said when referring to the technology that Thorn is creating, “It’s working. In six months, with 25 percent of our users reporting, we’ve identified over 6,000 trafficking victims, 2,000 of which are minors. This tool has enhanced 4,000 law enforcement officials in 900 agencies. And we’re reducing the investigation time by 60 percent,”
Kutcher was welcomed by some members of the committee that wore red X pins, which are affiliated with the End it Movement, an organization that is also committed to ending modern day slavery. The “X” is a symbol for the movement that helps remind people that slavery is still a huge issue in the modern world. In fact, according to Benjamin Skinner, a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, there are more slaves in today’s world than their ever has been in history. Skinner states this number is close to an estimated 27 million people around the world who are forced into some type of labor.
Although often times celebrities get stick their toe in politics at very inappropriate times, Kutcher is a reminder that sometimes the biggest issues need the biggest leaders to tackle them head on.