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Kutcher stresses use of technology to eradicate sex trafficking

Himalayan Paths

Washington, Feb 16 (IANS) Actor Ashton Kutcher, who during his 2012 visit to India had met sex trafficking victims and has been batting for their cause for long, says there’s need to understand the importance of using technology as a tool to eradicate slavery.

Kutcher testified on his anti-sex trafficking efforts before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a hearing on progress in combating modern slavery.

The actor spoke on behalf of Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children, an organisation he co-founded with former wife Demi Moore in 2009 that builds software to fight human trafficking, CNN reported.

He called his “day job” his work as chairman of Thorn and also as a father — he and wife-actress Mila Kunis welcomed son, Dimitri Portwood, in November, and daughter, Wyatt, is two years old.

“As part of my anti-trafficking work, I’ve met victims in Russia, I’ve met victims in India, I’ve met victims that have been trafficked from Mexico, victims from New York and New Jersey and all across our country. I’ve been on FBI raids where I’ve seen things that no person should ever see,” Kutcher said.

“I’ve seen video content of a child that’s the same age as mine being raped by an American man that was a sex tourist in Cambodia. And this child was so conditioned by her environment that she thought she was engaging in play,” he added.

Kutcher emphasised the importance of using technology as a tool that can be used to disable slavery, citing specific progress.

“It’s working. In six months, with 25 per cent of our users reporting, we’ve identified over 6,000 trafficking victims, 2,000 of which are minors. This tool has enhanced 4,000 law enforcement officials in 900 agencies. And we’re reducing the investigation time by 60 percent,” he said of a software tool called ‘Spotlight’.

Another tool called ‘Solis’ has taken investigation times from dark web material from three years to three weeks, Kutcher said.

He spoke on the issue and called for specific actions, including additional funding for the technology, fostering public-private sector relationships, looking into the pipeline for victims, including working with the foster care system and the mental health system, and differentiating solution sets for sex trafficking and labour trafficking with enforcement and legislation initiatives.

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