Over a year ago, I was introduced to a video highlighting the issue of sex trafficking in my home base of Portland, Oregon. A few minutes in, I recognized areas shown that were not too far from where I lived. I was in disbelief that this was happening practically in my backyard when my picture of what human trafficking looked like was similar to a scene out of Taken. I continued to watch the video as victims shared their stories, most leading normal lives until they met their trafficker. It was then that I knew I wanted to be part of the solution. Needless to say, when a product position opened at Thorn, I was thrilled. Combining my passion for driving innovation through user feedback alongside Thorn’s mission was more than I could ask for in a career.
As a product manager focused on our victim identification product, I have the unique experience of working across seemingly disparate groups — technology professionals and law enforcement. In my first days at Thorn, I attended a Child Safety Hackathon at Facebook where I watched technology professionals come together to solve complex problems related to identifying at-risk groups like runaway children. Just a couple of weeks later, I met FBI agents, troopers, and lieutenants who have committed their career to stopping human trafficking. These two groups seem to have a vast divide between them, but they are joined by a drive to protect our communities and vulnerable children. I was humbled. Not just by the aforementioned individuals, but by my colleagues. I’ve never been more inspired by the passion and persistence of the people I work with and for.
Product at Thorn is much different than other companies I’ve worked at in the past. Some days you’re deep in the technology and other days you’re talking to officers about juvenile victims of sex trafficking they’ve recovered using your tool. Shifting between groups working on the issue brings about an excitement that I didn’t expect, with the impact of the work juxtaposed with the very real need for the tools being built.
As our co-founder mentioned in the Senate hearing earlier this year “technology can be used to enable slavery, but it can also be used to disable slavery”. While we’re far from solving this problem, I know we have allies in the fight, because I’ve met them.
Interested in joining the team at Thorn? We need people who can bring clarity to complexity and hope to heavy problems. View our open positions.