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  1. ITV Report

Ashton Kutcher close to tears during child abuse testimony

American actor and human rights campaigner Ashton Kutcher has given an impassioned testimony about efforts to stop child sexual exploitation at a senate hearing in Washington DC.

Kutcher, who is the co-founder of a charity called 'Thorn' which fights child abuse and trafficking using advanced technology, spoke about his first-hand experience of trying to help victims from around the world.

He told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, titled 'Ending Modern Slavery: Building on Success', that he had met victims from Russia, India, Mexico and all across the US.

Kutcher added that he had been on FBI raids and "seen things that no person should ever see".

The actor and philanthropist said he was speaking on the issue because he believes every child has "the right to pursue happiness".

Kutcher added that as a father of two young children aged two years old and two months, he has been severely affected by some of the stories he has heard and incidents that he has witnessed.

He was close to tears when recounting watching a video of a young girl who is the same age as his eldest child, who was being raped by an adult American man in Cambodia, but because of her circumstances, she did not realise that what was happening to her was wrong.

Kutcher is the co-founder of 'Thorn' while helps combat child abuse. Credit: APTN

He also recounted the story of a seven-year-old girl who was sexually exploited for three years while videos of her abuse were shared via the 'dark web'.

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. And 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 seven-year-old girl was being sexually abused and that content was being spread around the dark web and she'd been being abused and they'd watched her for three years and they could not find the perpetrator. Asking us for help.

We were the last line of defence, an actor and his foundation were the potential last line of defence. That's my day job and I'm sticking to it."

– Ashton Kutcher

Kutcher said his foundation had created a tool called 'Solis' which was being used by 40 agencies around the world in beta form, and is aimed at helping them find child abuse offenders much quicker.

The hearing was held to examine progress in US global efforts to end modern slavery and human trafficking, including the recent enactment of authorising legislation for the End Modern Slavery Initiative.