Ashton Kutcher made an emotional visit to Capitol Hill in February to speak about the atrocities of human trafficking, and now the Two and a Half Men star is opening up about his transition from actor to humanitarian.
In a recent interview with W Magazine, Kutcher gave a glimpse into his personal life and his decision to get involved with the cause.
“Once I started to gain some level of fame, I was constantly being asked to lend my name to this or that,” Kutcher said. “And I was wondering, Is there a single cause that I can really get behind?”
After catching a Dateline special about sex trafficking, his eyes were opened to the horrific crimes, many of which were occurring in his own backyard of Los Angeles. From there, Kutcher educated himself on the matter, and he found out that many of these cases (approximately 70 percent) occurred online.
Kutcher was one of the first celebrities to realize the importance of social media in self-promotion (he was the first person on Twitter to have a million followers), and over the years he built relationships with some of the bigwigs in Silicon Valley.
“This was a medium I had a lot of experience with,” he said, “where I knew a lot of folks who could help.”
Motivated to make a difference in the world and save lives, Kutcher and his then-wife Demi Moore started Thorn, a nonprofit organization that “leverages technology to combat the sexual exploitation of children.”
Kutcher was tight-lipped in regards to Thorn’s methods (“Revealing our tactics would get in the way of our goals,” he said) but he did report that roughly 6,000 trafficking victims and 2,000 traffickers have been identified through the organization’s work.
He continues to work as an actor (season two of his Netflix series The Ranch premieres June 16), but Kutcher has found his life’s true calling, and there’s plenty more to be done.
“We have some research that suggests that people exposed to images of child sex abuse are more likely to commit a hands-on offense,” he said. “And so our next big initiative is to eliminate all child pornography on the Internet. It’s a pretty ambitious goal, but I think we can do it.”
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