Ashton Kutcher’s Pledge to Fight Human Trafficking Reaps Incredible Results

June 4, 2019 Updated: June 10, 2019

“You know what you can pray for me about?” Ashton Kutcher began. “I got something.”

The 41-year-old actor is a Hollywood fan favorite, a successful venture capitalist, stars in Netflix series The Ranch, and is married to long-term friend and co-star Milas Kunis. The couple has two children together: Wyatt and Dimitri. But despite all of this, there’s still more to Kutcher than meets the eye.

Kutcher is a humanitarian, and on an interview with the Today show, he made that abundantly clear. The show’s hosts quizzed Kutcher amicably about his current projects, and joked that his life seemed to be on the up and up. Co-host Kathie Lee Gifford, poking friendly fun at the star, teased: “What’s not going well in your life right now?”

“What can we pray for you about?”

Ashton Kutcher speaks on stage during Day 1 of TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco on Sept. 5, 2018 (©Getty Images | Steve Jennings)

Gifford and her co-host, Hoda Kotb, laughed uproariously, but Kutcher had a lightning-fast response. He’s been busy behind the scenes working on a groundbreaking digital initiative since even before Obama’s inauguration. “When Barack Obama was going into office,” Kutcher began, “I made a pledge that I was going to start fighting human trafficking.”

Kutcher started a foundation called “Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children” with his ex-wife Demi Moore in 2008. “We’re building digital tools that fight human trafficking,” the actor continued. The commerce for human trafficking is happening online, he explained, much like everything else. So Kutcher’s initiative is using the very same tools that traffickers employ to fight back against them.

One facet of the initiative is that by using Thorn technologies, law enforcement divisions are better able to prioritize their caseloads, recover victims, and find the traffickers behind the operations. According to So Share This, Kutcher originally joined the fight against human trafficking after happening across a Dateline feature on sex trafficking in Cambodia, quite by accident. It didn’t take long to convince him that the cause deserved his full attention.

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We will not let up until every child is free to simply be a kid. #DefendHappiness #WeAreThorn

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Kutcher was exposed to operations that victimized “six and seven-year-old girls,” he shared. “I said to myself, ‘I don’t want to live in a world where these things are happening and I’m not doing anything about them.’” Since then, Thorn has gone from strength to strength, and the statistics are already extraordinary; in 2016, Thorn helped identify and retrieve over 6,000 trafficking victims. The same technology also detained over 2,000 traffickers.

Kutcher won’t be stopping any time soon. “That feeling won’t change for me five or 10 or 20 years from now,” Kutcher said with conviction. “So whether I’m tackling this on a large platform or am just a guy with a sign, I’ll be doing this in 20 years.”

But that’s not all. “My next commitment,” Kutcher told the Today co-hosts, “I’m going to make a pledge: I’m going to eliminate child pornography from the internet. You can help me get that message out there,” he asked.

“You just did,” the hosts responded, with due praise. Check out Thorn for updates on Kutcher’s recent and ongoing success stories.