Success In the Field

Spotlight Tool Wins Cloudera Data Impact Award

By September 30, 2015 April 20th, 2023 No Comments

Thorn CEO Julie Cordua joined Bill DiPietro and Marten den Haring from Digital Reasoning for the presentation of Cloudera’s 2015 Data Impact Awards. We are proud to announce that the Spotlight tool has won the Social Impact award. The awards recognize achievements in Advancing Security, Affecting Social Change, and Driving Business Value with Data. We are honored that Spotlight has been recognized among technology experts, and humbled by the caliber of innovation recognized at the event.

“Social change is … occurring in a collaborative way across local and national, commercial and public sector organizations.” – Alan Saldich, vice president, Marketing, Cloudera

Spotlight promotes collaboration through tech to combat child sexual exploitation

The journey of the Spotlight tool began in 2012, when our team approached Digital Reasoning to help answer a question: “Can publicly available online data be used to more rapidly identify and rescue child sex trafficking victims who are being sold online?” Research has shown that child sex trafficking victims were primarily advertised and sold in online platforms – but with falsified names and ages. Because of the volume and highly inconsistent nature of the data, it has historically been very difficult for law enforcement to detect this type of illegal activity. That’s where Digital Reasoning’s expertise in analysis of human communication and machine learning came in. It presented the possibility of a breakthrough solution in developing a technology tool that utilized advanced cognitive-computing based analytics to quickly organize and provide intelligence within the chaotic online commercial sex market. Spotlight was conceived and built to support the investigation efforts of law enforcement to find child sex trafficking victims.

Since its inception, Spotlight has become the leading tool for child sex trafficking investigations in the United States, used in over 860 trafficking cases and helping to identify over 300 victims, including 50 children. To date, Spotlight is being used by 1,300 members of law enforcement across 46 states. 

Stay up to date—get the latest on our work and important news in the fight against child sexual exploitation.

Check out the full list of 2015 Data Impact Award winners.