On the Today Show, Ashton Kutcher spoke about his new Netflix Original series, “The Ranch.” However, the star focused on speaking about his organization’s work to end human sex trafficking and child pornography.
During his marriage to Demi Moore, in 2008, Ashton and Demi started the organization, which they named Thorn. Through his work with Thorn, he has found that most all sex trafficking victims have something in common, and that is that they are targeted online.
“We’re building digital tools to fight human trafficking. Basically, the purchase and commerce for human trafficking are happening online, just like everything else now, and so we’re building digital tools to fight back against it.”
Thorns mission is “to drive tech innovation in the fight against trafficking.” On their website, they explain exactly how they go about their work.
“We partner across the tech industry, government, and NGOs and leverage technology to combat predatory behavior, rescue victims, and protect vulnerable children. The site also lists 20 members of what it calls The Thorn Technology Task Force, comprised of technology companies that lend their knowledge, time and resources to the work that we do. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Adobe are listed among the names who are helping Thorn’s cause.”
Thus far, Thorn has experienced quite a bit of success, and they have some very impressive numbers to back up their mission statement.
According to Kutcher, “We’ve built a tool to help law enforcement prioritize their caseload and recover victims and find traffickers. And we’ve found and identified and recovered over 6,000 trafficking victims this year. And we’ve found, identified, and recovered 2,000 traffickers.”
And they aren’t stopping there, either. “Our next battle, my next commitment…I’m going to make a pledge that I’m going to eliminate child pornography from the internet.”
So how do they do it? Thorn uses internet technology to find victims and their captors.
On their website, Thorn has listed the various ways in which women are apprehended every day and then sold into the sex trafficking industry. Of course, much of this happened online, by use of websites like Craigslist.
In 2015, 75% of child sex trafficking survivors were found to have been sold online, at one point or another. Another anti-human trafficking group, Polaris reported that the International Labor Organization has estimated that there are currently 4.5 million people being held by sex traffickers. One survivor, Asia, told Thorn that, “People are posted and sold online multiple times a day. As far as the ad that was posted up [for me], there was a girl who eerily looked like me…just [like] you can go find a car, there was a picture, and a description, and a price.”