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Ashton Kutcher in one of the most important roles of his life.

I flicked on the TV today and saw Ashton Kutcher looking very proper and serious. Hmm, what movie was it? I’ve seen all his movies. How do I NOT know this one?

He was mid-sentence:

“….the internet trolls tell me to ‘stick to my day job’…. 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.”

Wait. what?

This wasn’t a movie. This was THE NEWS.

I, like a lot of people, can tell you what shows Ashton’s been on, who his wife is, how many kids he has, who his exes are, how he was once a Calvin Klein model and even what he studied at uni. (Biochemical engineering, FYI.)

But I had no idea he was so involved in this fight against global child sex trafficking. (Did you?)

As it turns out, Ashton was addressing a US senate hearing in Washington, on modern slavery. He was addressing it because, since 2009, while we were all obsessing over his relationship with Demi Moore, he and Demi were founding THORN – a non-profit organisation aimed at wiping out the child sex trade on the internet.

Lovable, friendly Ashton who spends his time punking people or mucking around during interviews or just making us laugh so hard we can’t breathe, was doing something SO important and it’s only taken us nearly a DECADE to start talking about it.(Side note – I know Demi has played a huge role in all this too, but this post is about Ashton because he was the one speaking at the hearing.)

To get an idea of how important this is –

  • according to UNICEF, 1.2 million kids are being trafficked each year (and that’s not counting the kids who are already captive)
  • Every two minutes a child’s being prepared for some form of sexual exploitation.

Still hasn’t hit you?

While you watch Ashton in one episode of That 70’s Show, somewhere in the world, at least 10 kids are being targeted by a predator involved in trafficking, pornography or similar.

This is HORRIFIC stuff.

And that’s where THORN comes in. They’re working with some of the biggest names in technology like Google, Facebook and Twitter to stop predators and save victims online
In his speech to the US Senate, Ashton explained how law enforcement agencies don’t have the funds or the resources to deal with this huge problem. But THORN has the software which allows them to track the activity of predators, making their cases easier to prosecute. They’ve got programs where they can follow victims who are being taken across state borders. What they’re doing every day, will truly blow your mind:

(Video published with permission from THORN)

Thanks to Ashton, Demi and the gang at THORN, more than 6000 people have been saved and 2000 criminals have been put in jail since 2009.

6000 people. Saved.

If you want to help out all you need to do is become a #DigitalDefender and donate to THORN at www.wearethorn.org ….100% of the money you give goes directly to their programs.

Nehal is an award-winning news presenter, author of "A Kids Book About Kindness Online" and founder of CelebrityKind. She has dedicated her career to creating connected and healthy spaces in the media. When she's not writing, you'll find Nehal hanging with family, dancing to Beyoncé, interpreting Taylor Swift lyrics or watching old eps of Oprah.

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