“This is about the time, when I talk about politics, that the Internet trolls tell me to stick to my day job,” the actor said. “I’d like to talk about my day job. My day job is the chairman and the co-founder of Thorn. We built software to fight human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. My other day job is that of the father of two, a 2-month old and 2-year-old.”
He then described joining the FBI in raids in India, Russia, Mexico and stateside in New Jersey and New York.
“I’ve seen things that no person should ever see,” he said, tearing up. “I’ve seen video content of a child that is the same age as mine 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.”
He continued, “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 defense. An actor and his foundation were the last line of defense.”
“I had to say no and it devastated me, it haunted me,” Kutcher said, choking up again. “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.”
He then recalled the story of “Amy,” a 15-year-old girl from Oakland, Calif., who was forced into trafficking within hours of meeting a man in person she’d first talked to online. “This isn’t an isolated incident. There’s not much that’s unusual about it,” Kutcher said. “The only unusual thing is that ‘Amy’ was found and returned to her family within three days using a tool we created … called Spotlight.”
Kutcher said the tool aids police in cutting investigation time by 60 percent, adding, “That’s my day job and I’m sticking to it.”
It wasn’t all heavy: Kutcher and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had a lighthearted moment after his speech. “You were better looking in the movies,” McCain said.
Kutcher, blowing McCain, 80, a kiss, replied, “My wife says that, too.
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