Thorn is an organization, originally called the DNA Foundation, that uses technology innovations to fight child sexual exploitation. Known as the Digital Defenders of Children, they are dedicated in seeking out these children that are victimized and bringing those responsible to justice. According to Thorn’s website, 63% of children that are sex trafficking victims, were bought and sold on the internet. Their organization specializes in researching and creating new technologies to combat the horrible crimes like child pornography and sex trafficking that plague millions of children around the world each year.
The creators of the organization, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, learned about the prevalent issue of child online sex trafficking through an expose and decided immediately to understand what the problem was and eventually created an organization that would combat these crimes. According to Thorn’s Executive Director, Julie Cordua, in order to work against online sex trafficking, Ashton and Demi created a taskforce of the brightest minds in technology that would keep Thorn on the cutting edge, ahead of those that commit these crimes. They build software in order to fight the traffic and make it easier to find these criminals on the dark web.
Thorn seeks to use the very thing that keeps online sex trafficking of children easily accessible to criminals and increasingly relevant: the internet. The issue of sex trafficking and child pornography seemed to diminish in the years prior to the internet. While there are many positive effects that have come with the inception of the internet, these issues involving online child sex trafficking and child pornography have, unfortunately, increased exponentially. The internet has grown increasingly over the years, and law enforcement has not been able to keep up with the growing advancements that criminals use to their own advantage.
In order to achieve their goals, they have reached out to huge companies like Twitter, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook who have all agreed to work together in order to fight this issue directly. Additionally, Thorn has created a an online tool called Spotlight, which would make it easier for law enforcement agencies to find these trafficking victims.
One of Thorn’s biggest partners is the Polaris Project. Together with the Polaris Project, they were able to create a text short code to make it safer and easier for those caught in modern slavery to get out.