I never quite imagined that I’d be escorting Ashton Kutcher around Capitol Hill. Three weeks into working at Thorn I had our whole team in tow, zig zagging from office to office, sharing Thorn’s mission with interested Senators. Walking home that night from the Senate Office Buildings in D.C. I was pinching myself. Did that just happen? After weeks of planning, Thorn’s Co-Founder testified about our work in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and everything went great. Read More
It’s been an incredible week at Thorn, and our community has helped push it over the top. For every week like the past one, there are years of quiet, focused work laying the foundation for scalable impact. Our team continues to work to end child sexual exploitation every day, but we can’t do it without your help. Read More
The last week and a half have been beyond inspiring for myself and the staff here at Thorn. The outpouring of support and interest in our work in response to Ashton’s testimony has been overwhelming, humbling and provided a much needed boost in doing what is sometimes really difficult and heartbreaking work. Read More
The following guest post was written by Ernie Allen, a recent addition to Thorn’s Board of Directors. His leadership, dedication, inspiration and ongoing work to protect children across the globe continue to push us forward.
Throughout my career I have worked closely with technology leaders. For more than three decades I have seen the power of technology firsthand and how it has changed every aspect of our lives, including the way we search for missing children, identify those who prey upon children, and keep children safe. Yet, there is a dark side. Technology also facilitates the exploitation of children. We have to change that. Read More
The FBI’s Operation Cross Country is a cross agency—and now cross border—operation that focuses on recovering underage victims of sex trafficking and raising public awareness. This year’s Operation Cross Country aided in the recovery of 82 juveniles (the youngest U.S. victim was 13 years old) and the arrest of 239 pimps. FBI Director Comey said, “Operation Cross Country aims to shine a spotlight into the darkest corners of our society that seeks to prey on the most vulnerable of our population.” Read More
Our team joined Cloudera Cares to host a hackathon at the recent Grace Hopper Open Source Day. Women attending the conference were invited to take part in a day long hackathon to benefit a social impact project. The event served a number of purposes — to draw attention to the problem of child sexual exploitation, look for ways to stop it, encourage women starting out in their tech careers to contribute and offer those same women the opportunity to be mentored by other experienced engineers and data scientists. Read More
The genesis of Spotlight started after we conducted a sex trafficking Survivor Survey in 2012, seeking to learn directly from victims how technology was used throughout their trafficking situation. We found that sixty-three percent of underage sex trafficking victims reported they had been bought or sold online. Armed with this data, we worked with our technology partners and law enforcement to understand how these existing digital footprints could assist law enforcement in faster victim identification. Read More
Chase Ricketts is our newest software engineer in the Thorn Innovation Lab.
From the first time I saw Thorn’s website I knew that their organization was atypical. Their pointed mission and data-driven projects demonstrated their effectiveness as digital defenders of children. Throughout the interview process, it was clear to me that this mission was backed by individuals of passion and genuineness. As a software engineer with a compassion for victims of sexual abuse, Thorn was a godsend. I considered staying blissfully ignorant of the problem, but this was too great of an opportunity to pass up — I was hooked. Read More
Last month, the documentary Audrie & Daisy arrived on Netflix. It tells the story of the sexual assault of two teenage girls, Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman. While each girl has a unique story, they share a common experience in the stigma, shame, and harassment they receive in response to their assault and the role technology plays in each of their stories. Read More