The Anti-Child Pornography Coalition Championed By Blake Lively Has A Secret Weapon

Through a partnership with Child Rescue Coalition, Lively is promoting new technology to fight crime.

The Child Rescue Coalition has partnered with law enforcement and activists around the world to stop children from being sexually exploited. Now, they've got Blake Lively in their corner, too.

The actress and mother of two is speaking up on behalf of the organization as they move forward on a quest to end child pornography. Lively met Carly Yoost, the CEO and Founder of Child Rescue Coalition, during an event where Yoost was named the 2016 L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth National Honoree.

"We are grateful to Blake Lively... for raising awareness on the issues of human trafficking, sexual abuse, and exploitation of children," Yoost said in an email to A Plus. "We are fighting the pandemic together, and awareness among the broader community that this can and likely does happen in their own communities is the first step."

Child Rescue Coalition uses technology to track, arrest and convict people who leverage the Internet to produce and share child pornography. Part of its work is giving law enforcement access to its secret weapon: Child Protection System (CPS) Technology, which that lets them access information about abusive content being shared in their area. Using that, they can paint a complete picture of predatory behavior and highlight where illegal content is being shared.

Best of all, they provide the technology to law enforcement for free. With it, law enforcement can produce maps like the one below which shows where child pornography is being downloaded in real time. 


Child Rescue Coalition

In the last year, the issue of sexual exploitation — particularly that of children — has come up often in national conversation. First, A Plus co-founder Ashton Kutcher gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor about his work at Thorn, which also uses technology to combat human trafficking. Then, University of Southern California online MSW professor Annalisa Enrile created a new microsite digging into the realities of human trafficking that is considered the largest dataset of human trafficking ever. President Donald Trump has also given the issue a lot of attention.

Now, with Lively taking on the issue publicly, Yoost is hoping the increased level of awareness will bring results in fighting the crimes.

"More people are aware of the issue, however, there is still so much progress to be made," Yoost said. "You hear stories in the news about children being sexually abused more than I'd like to count, but there is still a perception that these are isolated issues. It's a prolific problem that has been intensified by the Internet." 

Child Rescue Coalition CEO and founder Carly Yoost. Nilaya Sabnis Photography

While Yoost says that we can't just "arrest ourselves out of this problem," she has faith that the coalition is building a force to be reckoned with.

"We have thousands of brave men and women in law enforcement in all 50 states and in 77 countries who are committed with us to fighting for these innocent victims every day," Yoost said. "On average, for every officer trained on our technology,  four children will be rescued from further abuse. If one child can be rescued then I consider my life's work to be complete."

Lively, who couldn't be reached for this story, told Variety that she was drawn to the cause as a mother of two young children.

"There are millions of files all over the world being traded every single day of child pornography," Lively said. "It's so disturbing. A lot of these people are fathers."

So far, the Child Rescue Coalition's efforts are working. The organization says it has helped arrest more than 9,000 predators and saved over 2,000 children from sexual abuse. 

Despite that, there are still challenges. One of the biggest issues it that finding deleted files that contain abusive material can be difficult. Investigators say it's nearly impossible to recover an entire file since the computer won't recognize the order the file was received. But Yoost has a plan.

"To address the issue, we are developing an advanced new, evidence-retrieving forensic tool that scours hard drives in search of deleted files that contain images and videos of child pornography," Yoost said. "This enhancement will allow investigators to identify any child abuse imagery file from devices, including deleted files, in a fully automated way and significantly reduce forensic backlog, identify more child victims and deliver stronger conviction rates for offenders."

Cover photo: Courtesy Child Rescue Coalition


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