“I’m here to defend the right to pursue happiness,” Ashton Kutcher said Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The actor may be known for his romantic comedy roles and hilarious turns on popular sitcoms, but these days, he has a more important mission in mind. Though this mission statement might sound vague, don’t be fooled. Kutcher was testifying on Capitol Hill to help stop the practice of human trafficking.
As co-founder of the anti-trafficking organization Thorn, Kutcher has worked tirelessly to use technology for the greater good.
Thorn is responsible for creating a revolutionary software called Spotlight. Spotlight’s beta version has already helped cut human trafficking investigations down from 3 years to only 3 weeks. Despite the severity of human trafficking, many police units are ill-equipped to fight the problem quickly, or at all.
Spotlight is a groundbreaking solve that can free up resources and solve cases in record time. Plus, it’s intuitive software that continues to improve over time.
Many people profiting from the human trafficking industry take detailed steps to protect their anonymity. Thorn threatens to lift that veil and lead authorities to the masterminds behind some of the country’s most lethal practices.
But Kutcher wasn’t just there to ask for funds to further develop Spotlight. He was also there to problem solve and push lawmakers to move faster.
Among his suggestions on stopping human trafficking, he suggested continued partnership with private companies to ensure all possible resources were being dedicated to the cause and a thorough examination of the country’s foster care system. The latter has been identified as a “breeding ground” for trafficking.
Kutcher’s emotional testimony made international headlines. He spoke alongside Human Rights First, an advocacy group focused on the same cause.
For those wondering why this is such a hot topic, human trafficking actually increased last year. According to NBC News, there were 7,500 cases reported. That’s an increase of 2,000 cases in just a year. Without a powerful intervention, those numbers will only continue to go up and more lives will continue to be shattered.
So, Kutcher and Human Rights First were on Capitol Hill to defend the right to pursue happiness. But they were doing it for those who can’t stand up and defend that right on their own. It seems Kutcher has made a big impact, and some major progress is already underway.