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Mission to End Online Child Sexual Abuse (Julie Cordua ep. 314)

John O’Leary welcomes Thorn CEO Julie Cordua to the Live Inspired Podcast to share how to fight the online child sexual abuse epidemic.

In 2019, there were 69 million files of child sexual abuse material reported to the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children.

As CEO of Thorn, a non-profit founded by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, Julie Cordua is driving innovation to connect the tech industry, law enforcement and government to end the viral distribution of abusive material and rescue children faster.

Today, Julie shares how they are equipping the front lines and what we can all do to tackle this epidemic.

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SHOW NOTES:

  • “I’m on a mission to end online child sexual abuse.”
  • Thorn builds technology to end the trade on online child sexual abuse by changing the global systems that respond to this issue to create a safer world for our children.
  • Growing up in a small farming community, Julie’s mom raised her to be independent, caring of others, especially those most vulnerable and with the belief that there is a bigger world to experience.
  • After college, Julie worked with Bobby Shriver, co-founder of (RED) to use the brightest minds of the private sector to donate millions of dollars to end AIDS in the developing world.
  • When overwhelmed by the sheer scale of global issues, Julie simplifies it be asking, “Are you changing the systems that will create long-term positive change? How is this affecting individuals?”
  • In addition to sweeping successes, Julie finds motivation by focusing on the individuals taken out harm.
  • While working at (RED), Julie was introduced to Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore who started Thorn.
  • Victims and survivors of child sexual abuse share frequently share their stories with Julie, often reminding her that the documentation (images or videos) of that abuse still exists on the internet.
  • In 2019, there were 69 million files of child sexual abuse material reported to the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children in the United States.
  • Tip of the iceberg. When tech companies come across child sexual abuse material, they’re required to alert the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, yet only a few tech companies proactively look for this material.
  • “It’s not going to be easy but it’s not impossible.”
  • Three steps Thorn is taking to end child sexual abuse:
    1. Find the children in these images faster + stop the abuse by building better software for law enforcement with extensive intelligence at their fingertips
    2. Stop the production and viral spread of the content by removing perpetrators from society and requiring companies that host materials to proactively detect material.
    3. Changing the conversation with children about self-generated materials.
  • Understanding what’s driving the demand for this type of content will help end it.
    • Clinical issue
    • Personality types that seek out destructive behavior like drug + alcohol addiction.
    • The slippery slope of online pornography addiction
    • Internet normalizes almost any behavior
  • Thorn has identified over 10,000 children and given them a second opportunity at life through rehabilitation.
  • In the last year, Thorn has over 100,000 abuse images have been removed by working with tech companies.
  • Keep the children in your life safe by having very factual, open conversations about very uncomfortable topics. Get resources to have these conversations at Thorn’s Stop Sextortion website.
  • “I’m speaking for kids that can’t speak for themselves.”
  • Take every day as a new day and purposefully focusing on the potential.
  • Not everything is going to be perfect and how we will be able to move forward is being totally comfortable with not being perfect.
  • “It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to not know what you’re doing. It’s the forward momentum of not giving up that is important.”
  • Learn more about ending online child sexual abuse at Thorn.org.

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About our sponsor: Keeley Companies wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the results will follow. They set themselves apart with a forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast. Learn more about Keeley Companies.

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My new book IN AWE is now available… and became an instant bestseller! Learn how to rediscover your childlike sense of wonder to unleash inspiration, meaning and joy. Visit ReadInAwe.com today! 

JULIE CORDUA'S LIVE INSPIRED 7

  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Daredevil.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. Nothing.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. My maternal grandfather. I wish I understood the knowledge behind his lessons.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. The only way to the other side is through. After having my first child, my best friend shared, “Just remember everything is a phase. It may be a one day phase or a five year phase but everything is a phase.”
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Take more risks based on your principals.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. She loved deeply and worked hard to make the world a better place.

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