Why Ashton Kutcher broke down in a Senate hearing
The actor made a moving speech to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday
WARNING: Contains graphic descriptions of sexual abuse
Chances are you know Ashton Kutcher as an actor. Chances are, you don't know him as the co-founder of charitable foundation, Thorn.
It was in this latter capacity - as an advocate for change - that he appeared before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday. While giving a moving speech to Senator John McCain about ending child sex slavery, the 39-year-old broke down in tears.
"I've seen things that no person should ever see," said Kutcher.
"I've seen video content of a child that is the same age as mine [Kutcher has two children with wife Mila Kunis, aged 2 months and two years] being raped by an American man that was a sex tourist in Cambodia. This child was so conditioned by her environment that she thought she was engaging in play.
"I've been on the other end of a phone call from my team asking for my help because we had received a call from the Department of Homeland Security, telling us that a 7-year-old girl was being sexually abused and that content was being spread on the Dark Web... They'd watched her for three years and they could not find the perpetrator, [and were] asking us for help.
"We were the last line of defence. An actor and his foundation were the last line of defence."
"I had to say no and it devastated me, it haunted me," he continued, choking up.
"For the next three months I had to go to sleep every night and think about that little girl that was being abused and the fact that if I built the right thing, we could have saved her.
"Now, if I got that phone call, the answer would be yes."
At the beginning of his speech, Kutcher explained that each time he made a political statement of some sort in the past, trolls on the internet had told him to stick to his day job.
"I'd like to talk about my day job," he told the Committee.
"My day job is the chairman and co-founder of Thorn. We built software to fight human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. My other day job is that of a father of two, a two-month-old and a two-year-old."
Kutcher revealed in his speech that the software he and his team have built at Thorn now reduce police investigation time into child abuse by 60 per cent.
That's one hell of a day job.