“There is no such thing as a child prostitute. There are only victims and survivors of child rape.” Malika Saada Saar
Last Thursday (January 8th), Thorn’s Executive Director Julie Cordua joined Rights4Girls and the McCain Institute for “A Conversation about Combating Child Sex Trafficking.” Hosted at Google’s Washington D.C. offices, the discussion also marked the launch of Rights4Girls new campaign entitled “No Such Thing” which will work to eradicate the term “child prostitute” because of the negative implications it has on child sex trafficking victims and the ability for them to realize their legal rights.
Participants in the morning-long discussion included U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Rob Portman and Malika Saada Saar, Executive Director of Rights4Girls, Cindy McCain of the McCain Institute, Susan Molinari, VP of Public Policy & Government Affairs at Google, Craig Heckman, Lead Data Analyst of Polaris Project, and Staca Shehan, Director of Case Analysis Division at NCMEC.
The discussion began around strengthening legislation that would protect the rights of child victims of sex trafficking and hold the true exploiters accountable. There was also positive discussion around focusing more legislative and law enforcement efforts on the driver in the marketplace — reducing demand for paid sex.
The second half of the event focused on new technology advancements in addressing child sex trafficking. Staca Shehan from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children discussed how technology allows them to more effectively leverage the abundance of data they have to find and protect children. And, Craig Heckman from Polaris discussed its efforts to analyze data from global trafficking hotlines to realize trends and create interventions around the world.
Our own Julie Cordua discussed the role of technology in creating avenues for victims to reach out for help, providing more intelligent leads to identify and locate children more rapidly and to deter bad behavior before a child is abused.
To read more about the new technological measures that Thorn is taking to prevent trafficking, please visit our program pages here. Follow Thorn on social media or to join our email newsletter, get involved by visiting our Take Action page.