Well-known and liked actor Ashton Kutcher recently spoke out on The Today Show about an organization he’s worked with, Thorn. Founded with the help of his ex-wife, Demi Moore, Thorn helps find sex trafficking and child pornography victims and their abusers.
What is Thorn?
Thorn works with more than 20 technology companies (such as Dropbox, Google, Yahoo, and Snapchat, who lend their knowledge, time, and resources) to try and minimize the effects of sex trafficking and child pornography “building digital tools to fight human trafficking. 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.”
As Kutcher notes, Thorn is making great progress: “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.”
The end goals are bigger yet, though. As Kutcher notes, “Our next battle, my next commitment…I’m going to make a pledge that I’m going to eliminate child pornography from the internet.”
What the Data Shows
Data collected from Craigslist and other sites show the internet is frequently used in the sex industry. In 2015, for instance, 75% of the child sex trafficking survivors Thorn surveyed were sold online at some point.
As one survivor noted, “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.”
As anti-human trafficking group Polaris notes, The International Labor Organization estimates upwards of 4.5 million people currently work against their will for sex traffickers. To get an idea of how stunning in scope the industry is, consider this: The underground sex economy in Atlanta, Georgia alone was worth $290 million in 2014, according to an Urban Institute study.
For more, check out Kutcher’s full interview below:
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