Franklin Tech Company Helps Victims Of Sex Trafficking

Posted at 11:23 AM, Jul 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-13 15:17:57-04

Child and human sex trafficking is a sensitive subject that's not typically discussed unless among law enforcement.

However, inside Digital Reasoning, a Franklin tech company, software developers have been diving head first into that world.

"The imagery and data itself can be a little overwhelming at times," software developer, John Wagster said.

Wagster is one of the founding developers of  Spotlight, a software system that's being used by more than 4,500 law enforcement officers across the nation and Canada.

"Spotlight as a tool is really designed to surface ads that are at risk," Wagster explained. "How can we find and identify the children independent of all the other noise."

Since it's launch in October of 2014, Spotlight has helped law enforcement identify more than 6,000 victims of human trafficking, 2,000 of whom were children.

"Really some of the numbers are surprising, even just in the greater Nashville area. The amount of prostitution that happens is pretty, it can be difficult to stomach," said Wagster.

Developers at Digital Reasoning began working on Spotlight after an organization called Thorn reached out to them for help. The non-profit was founded by actors Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. Their mission is simple: fight child sex exploitation in the darkest corners of the internet.

Some may recall co-founder Ashton Kutcher's emotional testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February.

With Spotlight's help, not only have they saved thousands of victims but more than 2,000 traffickers have been identified.

"Any time you can help vulnerable people like children that are being subjected to this horrible crime, you can't do anything but feel good about it," said Bill DiPietro, Vice President of Product Management.

To learn more about Thorn, visit their website by clicking here.