AWS Machine Learning Blog

Thorn collaborates with Amazon Rekognition to help fight child sexual abuse and trafficking

Thorn is a non-profit organization dedicated to stopping the spread of child sexual abuse material and standing up to child traffickers. Thorn’s tools have been used to identify 5,894 child sex trafficking victims and rescue 103 children where their sexual abuse was recorded and distributed. Using AWS services such as Amazon Rekognition, Thorn has seen a 65% reduction in investigation time, which means finding more victims at a faster pace.

“Amazon Rekognition has been an incredible partner to Thorn by helping us leverage their image and video analysis solutions in our mission to defend children from sexual abuse,” says Julie Cordua, CEO of Thorn. “Abusers have hijacked the most advanced technology to exploit children—selling children online for sex, circulating abuse images and videos, and engaging in live-streaming abuse. AWS has chosen to be a part of the solution—partnering to leverage their solutions to help find exploited children faster and stop abuse. Collaborating with leading technology companies like AWS is critical to building the tools we need to find these children faster, and end the spread of child sexual abuse material.”

Thorn uses Amazon Rekognition to power their Spotlight tool, which enables investigators to more efficiently and quickly sift through thousands of domestic child sex trafficking ads. With approximately 150,000 of these ads posted each day on the internet, this tool is critical in the fight against child trafficking.

The information that is detected from these ads is fed into Spotlight, which quickly provides investigators the information they need to create a case, identify the victim, and ultimately recover the child.

“Spotlight, which relies on Amazon Rekognition for critical functions, is a crucial tool. It has enabled those dedicated to the fight against child trafficking to sift through massive amounts of child abuse and trafficking material,” says Cordua. “It puts the child first, and with a 65% reduction in investigation time, we are finding more victims faster.”

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About the Author

Kaiser Larsen is a Product Marketing Manager for AWS artificial intelligence solutions. Outside of work you’ll find him hiking, cooking for family and friends, and eating ice cream whenever there’s an excuse to celebrate.