Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher made an appearance in Congress on Thursday to raise awareness about his efforts to combat human trafficking and sex slavery in the United States.
In an impassioned 15-minute opening testimony, Kutcher praised the committee for bipartisan cooperation on the issue, calling his opportunity to speak “one of the greatest honors of my life,” his voice cracking multiple times as he recalled his work with victims.
“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.”
Kutcher and his former wife, actress Demi Moore, launched a campaign back in 2009 called Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children. Kutcher’s organization is focused on developing high-tech tools that help law enforcement officials detect and stop human trafficking and sex slavery. To date, those tools have been used in thousands of successful trafficking investigations.
Kutcher, who is known for major roles on TV and in movies, has made other political statements recently. Last month, he spoke out on Twitter against President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration actions. Kutcher’s wife, actress Mila Kunis, came to the United States as a refugee.
“We have never been a nation built of fear. Compassion is the root ethic of America,” Kutcher tweeted in January.