Award Presented At Sixth Annual WIRED BizCon Recognizes Thorn’s Work Driving Technology Innovation to Fight Child Sexual Exploitation
New York, New York, May 13, 2014 – MDC Partners Inc. (NASDAQ: MDCA; TSX: MDZ.A) announced today that it has presented Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children with the 2014 MDC Partners Humanitarian Award recognizing groundbreaking, entrepreneurial innovation in support of humanitarian efforts. The $20,000 award, in its fourth year, was presented today by Chairman and CEO of MDC Partners Miles Nadal during the annual WIRED BizCon, which in partnership with MDC brings together dynamic thought leaders around ideas and innovations that are shaping the world and fueling the next evolution of business. Ashton Kutcher accepted the award via video on behalf of Thorn, the organization he co-founded in 2009 to fight the sexual exploitation of children.
“What Ashton and the team at Thorn are doing to combat child pornography and sex trafficking is a remarkable illustration of the way expansive thinking, and the latest advancements in data and shared technology, can be leveraged to better the world we live in,” said Nadal. “Thorn is building tools that fight against human traffickers and child predators on the very online platforms that have facilitated these crimes against children. That entrepreneurial, collaborative and forward-thinking spirit is at the heart of MDC Partners, and we are privileged to support Thorn’s inspired work to improve the lives of young people around the world.”
“We are grateful for the support of MDC Partners and the entire WIRED community,” said Julie Cordua, Executive Director of Thorn. “Through our research we know that some of the latest innovations in technology are being used to exploit children. Our goal is to embrace the technologists and the companies at the forefront of innovation to develop tools that will protect our children and fight back against those who have chosen to use technology for evil.”
Thorn partners across the tech industry, law enforcement and NGOs, to combat predatory behavior, rescue victims of sexual exploitation, and protect vulnerable children. Through its Technology Task Force – a group of over 25 companies including Google, Facebook and Microsoft – it engages the best and brightest minds in technology in the fight against child sexual exploitation.
Thorn has leveraged these relationships to successfully generate programs such as the BEFREE text shortcode, launched in March 2013. The BEFREE texting capability provides a new, discrete way for sex trafficking victims to seek help from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) via text rather than phone call. This collaboration between Thorn, Polaris Project, Twilio and Salesforce has resulted in the rescue of at least seven individuals to date, and the identification of over 130 cases of human trafficking in the United States. This technology solution is one of many Thorn is developing and deploying to impact a problem affecting thousands of children in the US.
Thorn drives technology innovation to combat the sexual exploitation of children. Founded in 2009 by Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, Thorn aims to disrupt and reduce the predatory behavior of those who abuse and traffic children, solicit sex with children, or create and share child pornography. By partnering with other nonprofits, law enforcement and academic institutions, Thorn gathers new insights into the role technology plays in child sexual exploitation and then recruit the brightest minds to help form and deliver a response. Find out more atwww.wearethorn.org
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SVP, Corporate Communications