We work with technology companies, anti-trafficking organizations, survivors and law enforcement to combat child sexual exploitation through victim identification and support, deterring predatory behavior and making platforms and online environments more hostile to abuse. A large part of our work comes from informed research collected in the field, which helps our team, along with our many partners, remain on the cutting edge of technology. Connect with important resources and check out our latest research, along with research from our partners, here:
New Research: Sextortion
Sextortion is a growing problem, with multiple online platforms being used to help facilitate this crime. With so little data known about the dynamics of online extortion of sexual images, we set out to learn more from those directly impacted by this crime. Thorn partnered with the Crimes Against Children Research Center (CCRC) to conduct research to provide useful, accessible information about the dynamics of online episodes involving extortion of sexual images and related crimes against children and adolescents. We hope our findings will be able to inform further research and the development of technological (and possibly educational) interventions to disrupt, discourage and prevent online extortion of sexual images and related crimes against minors.
Report on the Use of Technology to Recruit, Groom and Sell Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Victims
With our Report on the Use of Technology to Recruit, Groom and Sell Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Victims, we set out to learn directly from victims how technology was used throughout their trafficking situation. This insight allows us, and others in the field, to create more well-informed programs that speak directly to victims needs. A second version of this study is currently underway and set to be released next year.
Invisible Offenders: A Study Estimating Online Sex Customers
In an effort to better understand the extent of demand from online sex advertisements, Thorn partnered with the Arizona Statue University (ASU) Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research, along with law enforcement, to increase operational knowledge. Invisible Offenders: A Study Estimating Online Sex Customers seeks to develop a comprehensive research agenda related to exploring the demand for commercial sex in the United States.
The Employee Resilience Guidebook for Handling Child Sexual Abuse Images
The Employee Resilience Guidebook for Handling Child Sexual Abuse Images by The Technology Coalition gives technology companies a high-level summary of obligations to report apparent child abuse imagery on their platforms. This resource also includes key practices and guidelines for safe handling and reporting as well as employee support in this arena.
From Abused and Neglected to Abused and Exploited: The Intersection of the Child Welfare System with the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
From Abused and Neglected to Abused and Exploited takes a deeper dive into the link between the child welfare system and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The paper highlights many of the issues faced by the child welfare system in addressing the problem, possible risk factors and vulnerabilities, and recommendations and opportunities for the technology sector. This is a valuable resource for those working in each of these fields, as well as a road map for ways the technology sector can get involved in tackling the issue.
CSAM Case Prioritization Research
Thorn partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and an expert research team led by Dr. Michael Seto, to develop knowledge that can be used to assist law enforcement in identifying child pornography victims and hopefully intervening in ongoing sexual exploitation and abuse cases. Analyzing over a decade of victim and offender data, we aim to gain insight into trends within child pornography offending. We also hope to better understand the characteristics of children who are victimized in child pornography images and videos and their relationships with those who have sexually abused them. Our central research questions focus on exploring differences in familial and non-familial cases, connections between child pornography content and contact sexual offending, and geographic and temporal patterns. A full report will be available soon.