Activist, businessman and actor Ashton Kutcher visited “The Today Show” last year to speak with hosts Hoda and Kathie Lee about the new season of his Netflix original series, “The Ranch.”
He was more interested talking about his organization’s work to end human trafficking which sparked a mountain of interest throughout social media. During the interview, Ashton Kutcher tells Hoda and Kathie about Thorn, the program he began with his ex-wife, actress and activist Demi Moore, in 2008.
Kutcher learned that all s*x trafficking victims are all being targeted online:
“We’re building digital tools to fight human trafficking. Basically, the purchase and commerce for human trafficking is happening online, just like everything else now, and so we’re building digital tools to fight back against it.”
Kutcher’s program, Thorn, has a self-described mission which is “to drive tech innovation in the fight against trafficking.” Their program’s website explains just how it goes about its 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.”
So far, Thorn has been a quiet success, with some remarkable feedback to back up its mission statement, as Kutcher explains:
“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.”
According to an Urban Institute study, in 2014, the underground s*x economy was worth $290 million in Georgia, Atlanta, alone, alone! Anti-human trafficking organization Polaris states that The International Labor Organization estimates 4.5 million people are forced to work against their will for s*x traffickers.