Thorn (organization)

Last updated
Digital Defenders of Children
Thorn logo.JPG
MottoWe build technology to defend children from sexual abuse.
Type NGO
Legal statusFoundation
Purposeaddressing the role of technology in the facilitation of human trafficking and child sexual exploitation
  • 6806 Lexington Ave
    Los Angeles, California
Region served
Official language
Demi Moore
Ashton Kutcher
Main organ
Board of directors
Formerly called
DNA Foundation

Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children, previously known as DNA Foundation, is an international anti-human trafficking organization that works to address the sexual exploitation of children. The primary programming efforts of the organization focus on Internet technology and the role it plays in facilitating child pornography and sexual slavery of children on a global scale. The organization was founded by American actors Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.

Human trafficking Trade of humans for the first book of forced labor, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation

Human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others. This may encompass providing a spouse in the context of forced marriage, or the extraction of organs or tissues, including for surrogacy and ova removal. Human trafficking can occur within a country or trans-nationally. Human trafficking is a crime against the person because of the violation of the victim's rights of movement through coercion and because of their commercial exploitation. Human trafficking is the trade in people, especially women and children, and does not necessarily involve the movement of the person from one place to another.

Demi Moore American actress

Demi Gene Guynes, professionally known as Demi Moore, is an American actress and film producer. After making her film debut in 1981, she appeared on the soap opera General Hospital and subsequently gained recognition as a member of the Brat Pack with roles in Blame It on Rio (1984), St. Elmo's Fire (1985), and About Last Night... (1986). Her starring role in Ghost (1990), the highest-grossing film of that year, earned her a Golden Globe nomination. She had further box-office success in the early 1990s, with the films A Few Good Men (1992), Indecent Proposal (1993), and Disclosure (1994).

Ashton Kutcher American actor

Christopher Ashton Kutcher is an American actor, producer, and entrepreneur. He began his acting career portraying Michael Kelso in the Fox sitcom That '70s Show (1998–2006). He made his film debut in the romantic comedy Coming Soon (1999), followed by the comedy film Dude, Where's My Car? (2000), which was a box office hit. In 2003, Kutcher moved into romantic comedies, appearing in that year's Just Married and My Boss's Daughter. In 2003, he created and produced the television series Punk'd, also serving as host for the first eight of its ten seasons. In 2004, Kutcher starred in the lead role of the psychological film The Butterfly Effect.



DNA Foundation was founded in 2009, by film and television actors Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. At that time, Moore was viewing an MSNBC documentary on human trafficking and sexual slavery of children in Cambodia. While later researching some of the issues that were presented in the film, she was inspired to act when she learned that child pornography and the sexual slavery of children were taking place not only in Cambodia, but in the United States as well. [1]

MSNBC is an American liberal pay television network that provides news coverage and political commentary from NBC News on current events. MSNBC is owned by the NBCUniversal News Group, a unit of the NBCUniversal Television Group division of NBCUniversal. MSNBC and its website were founded in 1996 under a partnership between Microsoft and General Electric's NBC unit, hence the network's naming. Although they had the same name, and MSNBC maintained separate corporate structures and news operations. was headquartered on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington, while MSNBC operated out of NBC's headquarters in New York City. Microsoft divested itself of its stakes in the MSNBC channel in 2005 and in in July 2012. The general news site was rebranded as, and a new was created as the online home of the cable channel.

Cambodia Southeast Asian sovereign state

Cambodia, officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is 181,035 square kilometres in area, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.

Child pornography is pornography that exploits children for sexual stimulation. It may be produced with the direct involvement or sexual assault of a child or it may be simulated child pornography. Abuse of the child occurs during the sexual acts or lascivious exhibitions of genitals or pubic areas which are recorded in the production of child pornography. Child pornography may use a variety of media, including writings, magazines, photos, sculpture, drawing, cartoon, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, and video games.

When DNA Foundation was established, the name of the organization represented the couple, along with their joint commitment to addressing human trafficking. On November 15, 2012, the name of the organization was changed following the dissolution of the founders' marriage. [2] As of 2012, they remain with the organization as co-founders. [3] The members of the board of directors of Thorn include Moore and Kutcher; as well as Ray Chambers, the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Malaria; and Jim Pitkow, co-founder of Attributor. [4]

Board of directors Type of governing body for an organisation

A board of directors is a group of people who jointly supervise the activities of an organization, which can be either a for-profit business, nonprofit organization, or a government agency. Such a board's powers, duties, and responsibilities are determined by government regulations and the organization's own constitution and bylaws. These authorities may specify the number of members of the board, how they are to be chosen, and how often they are to meet.

Ray Chambers United Nations official

Raymond G. Chambers is a philanthropist and humanitarian who currently serves as the World Health Organization Ambassador for Global Strategy. Chambers' philanthropic efforts are diverse, with major focus areas in global health, mentoring, and revitalizing his home city of Newark, New Jersey.

Malaria Mosquito-borne infectious disease

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, tiredness, vomiting, and headaches. In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, or death. Symptoms usually begin ten to fifteen days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. If not properly treated, people may have recurrences of the disease months later. In those who have recently survived an infection, reinfection usually causes milder symptoms. This partial resistance disappears over months to years if the person has no continuing exposure to malaria.


Thorn works with a group of technology partners who serve the organization as members of the Technology Task Force. Board member Jim Pitkow serves as the Chair of the task force. [5] The goal of the program includes developing technological barriers and initiatives to ensure the safety of children online and deter sexual predators on the Internet. Various corporate members of the task force include Facebook, Google, Irdeto, Microsoft, Mozilla, Palantir, Salesforce Foundation, Symantec, and Twitter. [6]

Facebook Global online social networking service

Facebook, Inc. is an American online social media and social networking service company based in Menlo Park, California. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies along with Amazon, Apple, and Google.

Google American multinational Internet and technology corporation

Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies, alongside Amazon, Apple, and Facebook.

Microsoft U.S.-headquartered technology company

Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports, and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft Office suite, and the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox video game consoles and the Microsoft Surface lineup of touchscreen personal computers. In 2016, it was the world's largest software maker by revenue. The word "Microsoft" is a portmanteau of "microcomputer" and "software". Microsoft is ranked No. 30 in the 2018 Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.

Following the organizational change in November 2012, Kutcher and Moore made the following statement regarding the overall focus on technology:

"For the past three years we have focused our work broadly on combating child sex trafficking. It has become crystal clear in our efforts that technology plays an increasingly large role in this crime and in the sexual exploitation of children overall. We believe that the technology-driven aspect of these crimes demands its own attention and investment." [2]

As of July 2013, Thorn is in talks with leading internet companies (Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Twitter and at least three others) to collaborate on creating a database of millions of child abuse images on the web. [7]

Corporate partners

Organizations that partner with Thorn in addressing child sex slavery include Polaris Project, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). [1]

Notable supporters

The following are notable individuals from the film, television, and sports industries that support the work and mission of Thorn. [8]

Related Research Articles

Child sex tourism (CST) is tourism for the purpose of engaging in the prostitution of children, which is commercially facilitated child sexual abuse. The definition of child in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is "every human being below the age of 18 years". Child sex tourism results in both mental and physical consequences for the exploited children, which may include sexually transmitted infections, "drug addiction, pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism, and possibly death", according to the State Department of the United States. Child sex tourism, part of the multibillion-dollar global sex tourism industry, is a form of child prostitution within the wider issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children. Child sex tourism victimizes approximately 2 million children around the world. The children who perform as prostitutes in the child sex tourism trade often have been lured or abducted into sexual slavery.

Free the Slaves is an international non-governmental organization and lobby group, established to campaign against the modern practice of slavery around the world. It was formed as the sister-organization of Anti-Slavery International but has subsequently broken links with Anti-Slavery International and has no relationship with it. The organization was created as a result of research done by Dr. Kevin Bales in his book, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy. Free the Slaves' approach is a focused strategy in the context of efforts around the world to enable people to meet their basic needs. Access to economic opportunities, health services, universal education, and strong rule of law would reduce the vulnerability of poor people to enslavement. Free the Slaves supports these efforts while recognizing that the existence of slavery calls for a specific and direct approach to its eradication.

Child prostitution Prostitution involving a child

Child prostitution is prostitution involving a child, and it is a form of commercial sexual exploitation of children. The term normally refers to prostitution of a minor, or person under the legal age of consent. In most jurisdictions, child prostitution is illegal as part of general prohibition on prostitution.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children American nonprofit organization

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is a private, nonprofit organization established in 1984 by the United States Congress. In September 2013, the United States House of Representatives, United States Senate, and the President of the United States reauthorized the allocation of $40 million in funding for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children as part of Missing Children's Assistance Reauthorization Act of 2013. The current chair of the organization is child safety advocate Patty Wetterling, mother of Jacob Wetterling.

Child grooming is befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child, and sometimes the family, to lower the child's inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse. Child grooming is also regularly used to lure minors into various illicit businesses such as child trafficking, child prostitution, or the production of child pornography.

Commercial sexual exploitation of children

Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a commercial transaction that involves the sexual exploitation of a child, such as the prostitution of children, child pornography, and the sale and trafficking of children. CSEC may involve coercion and violence against children, economic exploitation, forced labour, contemporary slavery

Trafficking of children Form of human trafficking and is defined as the "recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, and/or receipt" of a child for the purpose of exploitation

Trafficking of children is a form of human trafficking and is defined as the "recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, and/or receipt" of a child for the purpose of slavery, forced labor and exploitation. This definition is substantially wider than the same document's definition of "trafficking in persons". Children may also be trafficked for the purpose of adoption.

Human trafficking in the Philippines

Human trafficking and the prostitution of children is a significant issue in the Philippines, often controlled by organized crime syndicates. Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. is Canada's official tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children. The tipline is owned and operated by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (CCCP), a charitable organization. accepts and addresses online and telephone reports from the public regarding child pornography, online luring, children exploited through prostitution, travelling to sexually exploited children, and child trafficking.

The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, with a regional presence in Brazil and Singapore, is a private 501(c)(3) non-governmental, nonprofit global organization. It combats child sexual exploitation, child pornography, and child abduction.

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, R.A. No. 9208, is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2444 and House Bill No. 4432. It was enacted and passed by Congress of the Philippines' Senate of the Philippines and House of Representatives of the Philippines assembled on May 12, 2003 and signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on May 26, 2003. It institutes policies to eliminate and punish human trafficking, especially women and children, establishing the necessary institutional mechanisms for the protection and support of trafficked persons. It aims "to promote human dignity, protect the people from any threat of violence and exploitation, and mitigate pressures for involuntary migration and servitude of persons, not only to support trafficked persons but more importantly, to ensure their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration into the mainstream of society."

Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) is a Los Angeles-based anti-human trafficking organization. Through legal, social, and advocacy services, CAST helps rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking, raises awareness, and affects legislation and public policy surrounding human trafficking.

Michael C. Seto Canadian sexologist

Michael Chikong Seto is a Canadian forensic psychologist, sexologist, and author. He is director of Forensic Rehabilitation Research at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, where he says his research focuses on pedophilia, sexual offenses committed against children, child pornography, risk assessment, offenders with mental disorders, psychopathy, and program evaluation.

PhotoDNA is a technology developed by Microsoft and improved by Hany Farid professor at Dartmouth College that computes hash values of images, video and audio files to identify similar images.

Sex trafficking in the United States

Sex trafficking in the United States is a form of human trafficking which involves reproductive slavery or commercial sexual exploitation as it occurs in the United States. Sex trafficking includes the transportation of persons by means of coercion, deception and/or force into exploitative and slavery-like conditions, and is commonly associated with organized crime.


  1. 1 2 "MSN TakePart". Archived from the original on 2013-03-17. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  2. 1 2 "Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher Charity: Ex-Couple Working Together On THORN Foundation". 2012-11-16. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  3. "Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher to continue charity together | Celebrities | Entertainment". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  4. "Thorn: Board of Directors". Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  5. "Jim Pitkow | CrunchBase Profile". 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  6. "Thorn: Technical Task Force". Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  7. Internet firms’ plan to wipe child abuse images off web Kiran Randhawa, London Evening Standard, Published: 05 July 2013
  8. "THORN: Celebrity Supporters". Retrieved 2013-03-24.