As rapid technology innovation has connected us all in new ways, it has also given predators new methods of exploiting our children.
Child pornography refers to pornography depicting sexually explicit activities involving a child. Often this is actual documentation of a crime scene — images and videos that depict the abuse of a child that is then circulated for personal consumption. Child pornography is a global issue, but the United States remains the largest producer and consumer of child abuse content in the world.
Thirty years ago, child pornography was mainly shared via the postal service – making it incredibly difficult to find and difficult to identify like-minded individuals who shared this content. Today, almost all child pornography is traded online. Advances in connectivity, data storage, file sharing and smartphone technology have contributed to an explosive increase in this content and its reach and have made it easier for those who share this abusive content to connect and form communities.
More recently, technology has begun to play an increasingly prominent role in child trafficking. At any given time, there are between 100,000 and 300,000 children in the US alone at risk of commercial sexual exploitation. These children are often coerced or forced into selling sex against their will. Online classified sites and escort pages have become a virtual marketplace where these children are bought and sold.
We also know that live-streaming sexual abuse, online grooming and sextortion are growing in prominence.
As we work with survivors, NGOs and law enforcement around the world we regularly hear about their struggles to deploy the latest innovation in order to stop this type of predatory behavior and protect our children.
THIS IS WHERE THORN COMES IN.
We harness the best and brightest minds in technology to drive innovation to stop predatory behavior, reduce child exploitation and help identify and rescue victims.