Thorn kicked off our work in DC with a bang — with a testimony from our co-founder’s before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We may be the new kids on the block, but we have some big goals to educate policymakers about leveraging technology to address child sexual abuse. These past few months, we’ve learned a ton and we plan on sharing those insights regularly with you, our supporters. Here’s what’s top of mind in human trafficking policy for us at the moment. Read More
Here at Thorn, one part of our work is equipping law enforcement with the technology they need to help identify children exploited through sex trafficking or child sexual abuse imagery faster. This work would not be possible without the policies that protect child victims and hold perpetrators accountable. As our Strategy and Operations Director, Brooke Istook, shared earlier this year, you can start addressing these issues right where you live—by learning about the laws in your country, state, or city. 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
Recently, our CEO Julie Cordua and I attended a Demand Abolition and Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) Network convening, which brought together over 150 police officers, prosecutors, survivor leaders and advocates all dedicated to reducing the demand for commercial sexual exploitation. We were excited to present on trends in the online sex marketplace, showcase Spotlight, our human trafficking investigations tool, and learn about new ways technology is being used to combat sex trafficking demand. Read More
In the fall of 2014, our team went to Phoenix to present to the Arizona Human Trafficking Council. We shared a new tool we had just developed called Spotlight, that leverages machine learning algorithms and insight from officers in the field, and were prepared to train Arizona officers as some of the first users in the country.
This week, I had the opportunity to join the Council once again and provide updates on the incredible progress we’ve seen with Spotlight since our first meeting. Today, Spotlight is used across the state of Arizona and in 47 other states, plus the District of Columbia. It is being used by more than 2,000 officers nationwide and has helped identify over 300 victims of trafficking. Read More
On February 4th, I flew out to the San Francisco Bay Area to support our law enforcement partners in Super Bowl sting operations. In addition to other methods, officers used the anti-human trafficking tool we developed with Digital Reasoning, called Spotlight, to help identify victims and illicit networks. It was tremendously gratifying to come back to the Bay on behalf of Thorn and see our technology in action. Read More
Thorn will join our partners in the San Francisco Bay Area to support their efforts against human trafficking leading up to Super Bowl 50 this Sunday.
Major national events like the Super Bowl tend to bring about an influx of human trafficking victims supplied to buyers. In response, Bay Area law enforcement, organizations and service providers have teamed up to tackle the issue leading to the weekend by using an innovative, victim-centered approach. Read More
Last week, the FBI led its latest nationwide effort to combat child sex trafficking, Operation Cross Country. Carried out in partnership with various state and local law enforcement agencies, Operation Cross Country IX helped identify 149 underaged victims of sex trafficking and 153 traffickers. Furthermore, 52 general buyers were also arrested for allegedly soliciting underage victims. Read More
The Internet has made it easier for children to be bought and sold online, because it has created a marketplace for purchasers to conduct illegal transactions and for exploiters to profit from the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
Law enforcement doesn’t have enough time to navigate the online commercial sex market to find children and identify their perpetrators. This is due, in large part, to the enormity and complexity of this illicit environment. Read More
As Child Abuse Prevention Month comes to a close, we want to call attention to the long-lasting effects of abuse. Fighting child sexual exploitation and trafficking, we are aware that child abuse and neglect are often precursors to a life of exploitation. Breaking out of a cycle of violence is extremely difficult, and part of why we focus on intercepting these crimes against children so that they have a fighting chance for a balanced, happy life.