In advance of the END IT Movement’s fifth annual “Shine a Light on Slavery” day, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, convened a Congressional hearing on February 15 to examine progress in U.S. global efforts to end modern slavery and human trafficking, including recent enactment of authorizing legislation for the End Modern Slavery Initiative.

Video: Ashton Kutcher FULL OPENING STATEMENT (C-SPAN)

The hearing featured testimony from actor Ashton Kutcher, co-founder of THORN, and Elisa Massimino, president and CEO of Human Rights First.

“My day job is as the chairman and co-founder of Thorn,” said Kutcher during the hearing. "We build software to fight human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children.

“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.

“It haunted me because for the next three months. I had to go to sleep every night and think about that little girl that was still being abused, and the fact that if I built the right thing, we could save her.”

“Technology can be used to enable slavery, but it can also be used to disable slavery, and that’s what we’re doing,” he added.

“We are at a historic turning point in the global fight to end modern slavery thanks to the incredible efforts of so many committed individuals, faith-based groups, and aid organizations throughout the U.S. and around the world,” said Senator Corker. “As we approach END IT week, this hearing will provide an opportunity to assess the progress being made as the U.S. prepares to embark on an unprecedented global effort to end this scourge on humanity. I am excited to welcome Mr. Kutcher and Ms. Massimino to our committee and look forward to an engaging and thoughtful discussion about this important work.”

“I am honored to testify before Congress on this critical issue of modern slavery and human trafficking, and I applaud Senator Corker on his End Modern Slavery Initiative. It’s a game changer,” said Kutcher. “For years now, Thorn has been committed to building tech tools to combat child sexual exploitation and facilitating collaborations across tech industry to disrupt these crimes. We have no intention of stopping until we win this battle.”

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