Technology is oh-so-great! Except when it isn’t. We love it. We hate it. And we love it again. Because technological advancements are fascinating. The latest and greatest tend to reveal some impressive engineering. Upgrades mean change. Improvements stem growth. And it keeps us connected. But that kind of connection also means some serious collapse.

As the digital age continues to grow and technology gets bigger and better, so do predators. They are savvy, manipulative and malicious. And they exist only to take advantage of the vulnerable, specifically children and adolescents. Child pornography and sex trafficking are complex issues and the harmful intent is growing at rapid rate. So THORN is on a mission to prevent this kind of online abuse and use its resources to fight the sexual exploitation of

THORN is a uniquely equipped non-profit. They collaborate with some of the sharpest minds from tech agencies, government, law enforcement and other non-profit organizations. It was co-founded by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore and has grown into a network that utilizes over 350 volunteers and members of the tech community on a national and international level. They build powerful products that work to accelerate victim identification, deter abusers and disrupt platforms. Because there are always going to be individuals who adopt innovation with good AND evil intent. The internet provides many incredible conveniences but it has also made it easier for children to be sexually exploited. There are more than 150,000 escort ads that are posted daily, just in this country alone! And somewhere in that data pile lie children who are being bought and sold online for sex and abuse.

The organization’s first product, Spotlight, was designed to accelerate the victim identification process and help law enforcement make the best use of the critical time they have to find sex trafficking victims. The tool allows law enforcement officials to gather important evidence in minutes rather than hours and it gives a larger picture of where the crime is being committed as well as the scope. It serves to remove these vile criminals from the street and more
importantly, identify and recover the victims. In 2016, the web-based tool identified an average
of eight children per day and it reduced critical search times by 65%. It’s currently used by over
5,000 officers in all 50 states and Canada. It has given aid to identifying 12,328 adults, 5,791
children and 6,553 traffickers in the past two years. The statistics are staggering, sad and
absolutely sickening. So even though this organization is breaking barriers, there are victims
who still need a voice.

THORN is also a resource for preventing further abuse. They provide research, insight, best practices and programs for companies and individuals that want to further protect kids who use their online platforms. And they campaign!! They want to get the word out more. They have a strong desire to increase awareness and start the conversation. Their latest movement seeks to increase awareness about sextortion. Because yes, unfortunately that’s a thing. School days
have changed. A lot. The use of mobile devices amongst kids makes it difficult to control the kind of content that is [involuntarily] shared. And it becomes a threat to individual safety, privacy and trust. So they want to destigmatize the issue and encourage individuals to reach out for help and support their friends who may be a victim of the harassment. Kids don’t always realize that one single voice can be the catalyst for positive change and incite a domino effect
of defenders. If you’re the parent or guardian of a child with a phone, we encourage you to read more about this campaign; learn how you can get involved and help your child understand
the dangers.

The fight to allow kids to be kids without the fear of being sexually abused or exploited takes people from all parts of the world. It needs Individuals with a variety of skills and backgrounds that are committed to fostering awareness and executing prevention. Every positive action makes a difference. So this month, our UrbanHero program is getting involved. And you can be a part of that extraordinary effort!

Be purposeful in preventing a heinous kind of crime with this stouthearted spread. You know we love the colorful kinds around here. So we’ve selected the building blocks of an Aztec design complete with a brilliant border. We believe that bright and bold brings out the best. So stand with this special style and help us support the very sad struggle against sexual abuse and child trafficking. Let’s save a victim one halo at a time.

To learn more about our UrbanHero program, click here. Ready to jump right in and become an UrbanHero? Click here.