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Oct. 23, 2020

#15 Child Rescue Coalition- Carly Yoost Founder and CEO

I wanted to take the time to do a PSA podcast if you will on an epidemic that really matters to me. I started following the work of The Child Rescue Coalition and the difference they are making is so incredible.

This episode I have the CEO Carly Yoost joining to go over the statistics, the tech, and tips for parents are caregivers. With kids spending more and more time online more are susceptible to becoming victims of online predators.  Anything I can do to bring awareness to such a monsterous issue I am more than happy to do.

You can support the organization and learn more at https://childrescuecoalition.org/

Support the show (http://patreon.com/candicehorbacz)


Speaker 0 (0s): Hello, 

Speaker 1 (5s): Everybody at you're listening to Chatting with Candice I'm your host. Candice we're back before we get started on this week's episode, if you want to support the podcast, you can do that simply by leaving a review or giving a five star rating. This week, we have the CEO of the Child Rescue Coalition joining us. We're going to talk about some uncomfortable statistics that are happening, how the lockdown has affected the numbers regarding to online predators. It's really important stuff. I feel like it's not getting enough mainstream attention. So I'm really trying to highlight causes that I think are worthy of the attention. 

It's a little bit heavy. I think it's super important and it's very informative. So I hope that you take something away from this podcast and that may be, it inspires you to get involved. I'll keep a link in the show notes where you can donate to the Child Rescue Coalition or you can go to the Child Rescue coalition.org to start making 

Speaker 0 (57s): Difference. 

Speaker 1 (1m 3s): Carly thank you so much for joining the podcast. I'm really excited to shed some light on your guys's operation. If you wanna introduce yourself and the company to learn, 

Speaker 2 (1m 13s): That'd be great. Yeah. Well, thanks for having me today and highlighting in the work that we are doing at Child Rescue Coalition I'm Carly Yost on the CEO and founder of the nonprofit organization, and we are dedicated to preventing the abuse of the sexual abuse of young children. So we do that by the technology that we build and give to law enforcement free of charge that identifies Child predators all over the world. We're now working in 96 countries around the world where we'd give our technology to law enforcement that identifies these Child predators and rescues children that are being abused. 

And so on. 

Speaker 1 (1m 53s): Incredible. When I found out you were at 96 countries, that's so impressive, 

Speaker 2 (1m 57s): I guess, how did you get like that big of a spread? Because I know that 

Speaker 1 (2m 1s): Financially, especially with a tech company, I can't even imagine 

Speaker 2 (2m 4s): It costs just to have so many people keeping the tech up to date and having them on salary. So how did you, how do you support yourself? Yeah, that's actually, that is our biggest expense is making sure that we have really skilled and talented programmers and technologists that are keeping the tool working for all of our officers, using it all over the globe and making sure that we're staying in the areas of the internet, that predators are lurking and where we know that they're trading child sexual abuse material, but we do have a relatively, a small team, the way that we've been able to get our message out there and get our training and the technology in the hands of so many officers is our partnership through law enforcement. 

So we, we actually only have a team of about 11 of us full-time staff in South Florida. And so that's mostly comprised of the technology team and, and everything it takes to run our nonprofit, but we have over 12,000 trained officers and out of those officers, we've elevated a a hundred of them to be instructors' on our behalf so that when a new country like Brazil or a new area, that's never been trained before pops up. We have an instructor in one of those areas of the world that works and is doing this paid by The their own agency, but we'll do the training and train our tool to the new officers. 

Really 'cause they believe so much in the work that we're doing. So I've been really successful. I have been able to stay really kind of a small, tight knit team, but really large Coalition of these investigators and instructors that are helping us implement all this training around the world. 

Speaker 1 (3m 44s): Now, are you able to tell us like a little bit about how the tech works? I know it's probably a tricky cause you obviously want to keep some of it or most of it secret to obviously be useful, but to me, like, it's so interesting because you can see big tech kind of sensor what they want to sensor. Right. And it seems very easy to find like these political videos that they may be wanting to take down, but then you have something that's a truly harmful, like Child, I'm going to call it like Child rape material, Ray. I hate the term child pornography. Cause I find that to be so misleading. 

So I guess it's a two-part question. So how come it's so difficult for big tech to censor this on their own and then how does your tech help, right. 

Speaker 2 (4m 24s): Yeah. Great question and great point that you had about really trying not to call this child pornography anymore. It's still federally defined child pornography. So law enforcement and it's still being used the term, but it's such a misleading term and concept children are not in any way as you know, willing participants and it's nothing like thing that resembles pornography. And now really as an organization, we've been trying to refer to it as a child, sexual abuse materials. But I like that exactly what you said, Child rape images. 

It is what it is. I mean this for a very young children being sexually abused in a graphic way and, and just purely the trade of it and the possession of it as a felony. So that's exactly what we're going after and what we're targeting in these offenders. So you asked about how the technology works. So our tool, which we built all in house and it's our technology sits in areas that we know that the majority of these child sexual abuse images are being traded and that's actually not websites or typical places that a non predator might think. 

You have people go to to find these images, what predators have gotten good at as they go to more underground areas of the internet. So you've been the dark web or peer-to-peer chat-based networks. That's where our tools since. So if you're familiar with like back in the day with how Napster worked and people would trade music files or how they currently trade free movie files, predators, and the same type of peer to peer networks and they're advertising and making available these images. 

And they're also downloading and in possession of illegal files and images. So it is public forums of the internet and our tool is built in and tracks the trade of any time someone's on these peer to peer networks and they are advertising that they're in possession of these known illegal files. And so actually officers have viewed the images before labeling them to us so that we know that they are indeed child sexual abuse material. So the federal definition of it would be a Child under the age of 18. 

And we actually go even more strict threshold of where tracking people, trading children 12 and younger, because we want to make sure it's just without a question, without a doubt, it's a legal file for them to be trading. And so we're able to show the officer a whole profile of their jurisdiction. So if they're an officer in North Carolina or an office here in Florida, we'd be able to show them their jurisdiction who all of the IP addresses are that our trading, this kind of material, how many files that they're trading, the type of files, even the age range of the victims that they're trading. 

And we also would like to show the investigator's to other indicators. So we've observed that predators trade, how to manuals and grooming documents of how to gain access to children and how to normalize sexual behavior. So it's really, to us is an indicator that that person is even more likely to be a hands on an abuser. So we'd like to show that to the investigator. And from there, they're able to turn that IP address into a subpoena to that internet service provider and actually find a name and address from which all that activity is occurring from. 

And so we really give them all the probable cause to start the investigation and go into the home, start seizing evidence and make the arrest of that predator. 

Speaker 1 (8m 5s): And then do you find when the subpoenas are getting issued that these tech companies are like really compliant and they are like willing to help or, cause I think the conversation that I see a lot to you is the argument of privacy. And so many people aren't willing to give up, like this is insane amount of privacy that we expect to have when it comes to encrypted messaging such as WhatsApp or Facebook messenger, whatever. So do you find companies are like, yeah, very cooperative or is there a, like a little bit of friction there, 

Speaker 2 (8m 32s): There are certain their cooperative in our cases, 'cause all of that. Our officers are requiring is that they provide the information from the subpoena, which is a subscriber information and the address of that location. So we already know what files they're trading. We know what I picked dress was trading in when, and really have a lot of the evidence collected already for that officer to go ahead and have the probable cause they need to, to start that investigation and ultimately make the arrest of that individual. 

What we do know that officers are going through is a significant problem when there's or evidence that comes along. So maybe they were sending messages on Facebook or Chatting with a minor in a certain app. And so if those were using ind to end encryption or some type of, you know, even just using that, the actual platform, the platform themselves can sometimes be difficult working with law enforcement to give them evidence that they need, but it is, they are required to the company's and the internet service providers when they're working with our officers. 

And it's a matter of, we know there's been child sexual abuse material being traded, and here's the IP address. And we need to turn this into a person to figure out who's behind it. They're required to do cell. And usually in child exploitation cases, they do so fairly quickly when it is a matter of figuring out who's behind that IP address. 

Speaker 1 (10m 2s): So I was reading that there is a huge spike in like these online predators, I guess like activities because of like locked down in a lot of kids that are on their phone more and doing distant learning. I was even reading that some people are hacking into zoom with kids, which is so crazy. Have you seen a statistical spike since the pandemic? And I guess how do those platforms that are encrypted create like a hurdle for your company, 

Speaker 2 (10m 31s): Right. Yeah. So we definitely see that there's just a lot more people in general online right now. So more kids were using the internet because we were home more now than ever, and doing virtual learning and predators are online more than ever. So we definitely did see an increase. It was actually interesting. We ran our numbers and we saw an initial decline when we all kind of went into quarantine at first and all of this was happening. It was almost like the world kind of was in shock for a second. 

But then as more time was being spent at home, we did see an, a definite increase in predator activity. And then certainly organizations like the national center for missing and exploited children. I'm on another tip based organizations have seen a massive increase in how many predators are contacting children and how much activity is going on. But definitely there's the issues of zoom. Certainly we've been hearing about that for a while now, where schools or classrooms or tutors or online with children and predators are able to trade those zoom accounts and are actually logging in. 

And they either exposing inappropriate images or, or just in a room with children that they shouldn't be in a room with a concern. So for sure were tips to parents and teachers and educators make sure your zoom classrooms are always password protected. And then you're not sharing that link out like on a, a Facebook that anyone could grab, because even if that link has the password embedded in it, if you make it shareable than anyone can really access that room. 

And some of the just tips for parents, we have don't allow the devices that you're using and all of this new platforms and apps and everything. Don't let them be doing this without kind of eyes on it. So you don't have them take it into their bedroom without You and the room. And just to keep that open communication with kids to know that you might be checking in on their devices and seeing who they're talking to and who they're communicating with is definitely important information to be out there. 

Speaker 1 (12m 42s): So with your company, do you focus mostly on like recycled content? Because I was listening to a podcast that Sam Harris had done somewhat recently on like this whole issue of online predators and like these abusive Child videos that are kind of going around. So do you focus mostly on material that kind of keeps getting passed from hand to hand? Or do you also focus on like new content and like predators that are actively trying to, I guess, get new children to like send them material to be like tick talk or Snapchat or whatever? 

Speaker 2 (13m 15s): Yeah. So I would say we're, we're focused on all of it and we definitely want to be catching the people who are producing these images and actively abusing children. And that's actually one of our big points is that even people in any kind of child sexual abuse material is an 85% chance that they've already hands on abuse to a child. So a real big driver and motivator of why we find this work to be so important. And why do we keep doing it, but about your question, the bulk of what we are tracking and the trade-off is material that has been viewed by law enforcement. 

So they viewed it and categorized it to us. So if a brand new content that was just produced that day, wow, we wouldn't know about it. And it has a new device discovered new content. And then actually they automatically push that and categorize that into our database. So we're constantly getting a new feed of new files and images to update and refresh in our, our database. But one thing that I wanted to talk about was a new project that we're doing. We actually just received a large grant funding to be doing this, but is work with predators who are using devices and the internet to online stream and online demand, abused children. 

So they using some sort of payment form, usually electronic payment. And there's usually a live Child either via zoom or guy or a lot of different platforms. And the predators are actually paying a predator to abuse them on video. And so we have a whole project that we're on to go after those types of predators. So we're definitely, we're interested in all of it, the old content from the seventies, if someone's still trading, those were interested in it because it predicts that someone's likely to still be at a hands-on abuser if they are just assuming and trading this material and certainly predators that are trading and making new material and have access to a live Child. 

We definitely want to find that and then want law enforcement to, to rescue those children 

Speaker 1 (15m 20s): Now with that. So do you see like a crossover from the people that are trading the material and doing like these awful live? I don't even know what to call it like a live abuse chat room sho with kids that are like missing and being trafficked, like, are those things tied in together? Are they separate issues? 

Speaker 2 (15m 42s): I think it's definitely all connected. And a lot of the images that we see traded in the peer networks and by predators are those that are of children. Who've been trafficked. So human trafficking victims, or children's sold in brothels for sex or anywhere happening here in the United States, the videos get taken of them and the predators start trading it all over the internet. And so also the same people who are likely to show us that they're interested in children sexually by downloading these images are the same people who would purchase the child for a sec. 

And really, I think by us working in so much to work with law enforcement lead to the arrest of these predators, it's hopefully really making a decrease in the demand of trafficking by getting just all these child predators off the streets. So we have led to the arrest of over 12,000 Child predators as just in the last, I would say seven years. And so we really hope that we're working towards that effort to fight trafficking as well. 

But just my last point on that is the number one indicator that someone could be likely prime to be trafficked later in life is that they experienced early childhood sexual abuse. And that's absolutely what we're fighting at the core is that anyone we helped to live in a world where nobody has to experience that and really stop that cycle and chain of the abuse from happening. 

Speaker 1 (17m 13s): Okay. So when it comes to like these grooming materials and handbooks, do you have some tips for parents and caregivers as to like what to look for? Because we recently just had a baby. So I kind of like dove deep into just like trying to learn as much as I could about This and it's so interesting because of the data suggests that it's almost someone, but, you know, it's the, you know, they work their way into your circle. So if you could give like tips as to like telltale signs, that would be great. 

Speaker 2 (17m 42s): Yeah. Well, congratulations to you. I am the mother of two young kids myself. And so even before I had kids, this work was so important to me and then having a child just makes it so much more impactfully. And actually we ended up working two cases that impacted my own town that I lived in and really kind of hit home close to my children. So there is a local gym, like a kid's gym, little gymnastics studio that I had just signed up to take my kids to. 

And hadn't gone for the first time yet, but all my friends have been there and I really liked the place. And the gymnastics coach was arrested because of the technology we were providing to law enforcement, creating images of, of like a four year olds and seven year olds. Exactly our kids ages. So really kind of hit home. And also we identified a doctor in the area who is actually a nextdoor neighbor as a really good friend of mine's house, who are my children play on all the time. 

And it was the nextdoor neighbor of that for now. So yeah. So you can forget what your question was. This is a bed, but really brought me how, and when you said you had just had a cat and really how important this work is? 

Speaker 1 (18m 57s): No, I think so. It helps to, the question was like, like telltale signs, because there's a lot of books, especially when it comes to the psychology of like, of just like human nature. So we always say like, trust your gut. If someone gives you a bad vibe, like go with it, but they've done studies and it's really a coin toss as to like, whether your quote unquote intuition is accurate or not. When assessing a person, even people that are like professionally trained, it's really difficult to know if someone's intentions are right or wrong. 

And they used, I can't, I wish I could remember the name of the book, but they use a couple of predators as examples of these parents were like, I had no idea, like he was at our home, he was coming to dinner's. We thought he was so great with our kids. So from your standpoint, cause you get to see like a lot of volume, what are some common telltale signs that we can actually look for rather than just go off of our feelings? 

Speaker 2 (19m 51s): Yeah. I think that is great points. And, and, and what you said before too about most often it's predators that we know. So a lot of people are fearful of the kidnapping and the abductions of strangers and that does happen and it is for a thick, but most child sexual abuse is that person who's grooming the family and grooming the child. So that's kind of a big one is like, how do you know yourself that you're being groomed? And yes, we've met. I've had people come to our events who their own husband are there, the stepfather and the family all trusted them. 

And it was discovered that they were a child predator in that they were trading This kind of material. So that's always a shock to the family. It just seems like its, it is someone who puts themselves in positions of trust that are trusted members of our community. So it's a certain signs like, you know, is this person really trying to overly groom the family really get in and paying special attention to that Child and trying to get a loan time with them. So as a coach that, you know, just wants the one-on-one practice with them, that really sees them be in the shining star on the team and trying to pull them away from the family to get one-on-one a lone time. 

So I would just be cautious of situations like that and know that you're not going to just know who a predator is because they look or act a certain way. Unfortunately it's not that easy to tell. And then definitely people who are trying to talk to your children through text or calls, sending them gifts kind of thing, thanks to look out for and then just behavior changes in your child. If anything is happening there. I think that 

Speaker 1 (21m 40s): It's really important. So I had Keith Wagner on recently, he's a results coach for Tony Robbins and he just recently started a nonprofit as well. He focuses more on like the tactical training for law enforcement in these things. And that was a similar thing that he said was looking for changes and your kids like demeanor a personality and that's a huge indicator that something's going on. 

Speaker 2 (22m 1s): Yeah. Yeah. I think that's a great point. And does why it's so important to have an open-ended questions with your child about starting from an early age about their body and ownership of their body. We're actually going to be releasing a campaign soon. That's coloring pages that are happy and positive, but reinforce that I'm the boss of my body and I get to choose to who touches me and just body empowerment. And then I think as that child gets older and we have a lot of resources on our website@childrescuecoalition.work, but dealing with teens and children that are now on devices to open communication and who they're talking to and who their friends are and how they know then, and definitely picking up on any kind of changes in behavior. 

I think a big one too, with this pandemic and people being home more and even before it was just children playing online games and the concept of how you meet a friend and how, you know, people in real life and gain trust versus friends that you're meeting in the virtual space and that you really don't know who they are. And a lot of predators kind of get into people's home that way develop what the child feels is a true friendship or trust within that person. 

And then go on to start trying to abuse that child. So definitely the internet has made a complex way of life for parents to it. It used to be simpler of like who's in my child's life and now it's really opened it up to so many different, different avenues. 

Speaker 1 (23m 38s): Yeah. It makes it a lot more difficult to win. There's just so many platforms that are encrypted as well. Cause it would a lot easier for companies to get involved and companies like yours too, probably have a bigger success numbers, but I can't remember how they worded it on Sam Harris's episode, but he's like if I knew that giving up a little bit of my privacy could even help one kid, then that's totally worth it. So why do we have like this crazy obsession with privacy? Do you guys do any work with like litigation at all? 

Are they trying to, or legislation, I'm sorry with like trying to like fix some of these privacy laws or do you just kind of 

Speaker 2 (24m 17s): The Santa that we had before just because we are a small team stayed out out of it, even though it's very, it impacts us in a great way. So I think the issue of that you bring in to end encryption and making it so that law enforcement, it can even get access to conversations. When we know a child was being abused really is a horrific and I don't think it fits what society and feels. And I think we all value the privacy then, but like you said, you know, not at the expense of, of children actively be an abuser and law enforcement being a hamstring and to not be able to do their cases, our investigation. 

So we're trying to play more of an active role of when important cases are coming up that we have to say. So, and that we're weighing in on new legislation that's happening. So a recent one, which really wasn't about the privacy issue, but it was about Child exploitation is we were weighing in on the sale and the purchase of child sex dolls. So it's something that people don't even realize that predators are able to go on companies like Amazon purchase a doll that is a childlike sex doll for the predator purposes. 

They're shipping them in to the United States and there's no federal banning the sale of these child sex dolls. So we were taking a stance on that, that, that it doesn't help predators. And then they kind of way, it's just another form of child exploitation and it is connected to people and only aggravates people who are likely to be a hands-on abuser of a Child in the future. 

Speaker 1 (25m 55s): Yeah, I think that's so interesting because a lot of the conversation that I see is that people say, you know, well maybe this is preventing them acting out on a real Child, but the data, if I'm correct suggests it's actually right. 

Speaker 2 (26m 8s): The opposite. Right? Absolutely. And people made that argument years ago about child sexual abuse material. So it's just images or videos. It's not really, you know, maybe it's stopping them from abusing children real life. And it absolutely does not. It encourages them desensitizes predators event to images don't become enough. And it's only a matter of time before they can actually find a Child that they want to abuse. And we would argue of the same thing with adults as well. 

So we've seen a lot of cases where they are trading and child sexual abuse material. They have one of these Child sex dolls that unfortunately they purchased legally in almost every state in the United States. There's only three that I have banned the sale of those sex dolls. And then they're also abusing children. So, you know, we've seen that 85% of people just viewing those images are hands on abusers of children. So it's really all connected. It definitely doesn't help or prevent predators from going down that path. 

We think it actually just speeds it up. And if, if predators weren't even allowed to have access to, we'd love to see a day where we're a child sexual abuse material didn't exist on the internet and we didn't have to police this, but, and also we would love to see the day where dolls like that aren't legally being sold in the United States because it's definitely not helping the situation. 

Speaker 1 (27m 32s): Yeah. I saw it when you had that campaign going, I actually signed that petition. So what was the feedback that you got? Cause you said only three States have made it a legal, so the other one's like, do you get responses or a holding pattern? 

Speaker 2 (27m 44s): Yeah. So we just launched that campaign, I think maybe a month and a half ago. And the response was great from our supporters in the community. I think we had around over 150,000 signatures of people are agreeing that they were pretty outraged, that that's not illegal and the States and that these dolls are being sold. And we've gotten feedback from now three politicians who are enacting a new law to federally ban the sale of these dolls. 

So we're supporting that. We support any legislation that's out there trying to, to ban This and make it a lot stricter against the trade of it. But it is kind of like a holding pattern. Its there's a lot going on in the government right now. I think probably seen any kind of legislation like that actually enacted and changed will happen after the election. And it will be interesting and that's not really the space we sit in. We don't have a lobbying team on it, on our organization or someone who just sits in DC, but we're definitely for any politician on both sides who are first strict laws against Child predators that are hurting children. 


Speaker 1 (28m 55s): Do you have any ways that people can kind of get involved, whether its like with your organization or with trying to get their legislators to pass certain laws? Like how do people that feel moved with this kind of work, like make a difference? 

Speaker 2 (29m 10s): Yeah. So we definitely would love for people to go on our website. Child Rescue coalition.work, sign up for a newsletter, which is always releasing new cases that we're working on and new predators that we've just identified. So by donating and supporting, you can know that our technology is going free of charge to law enforcement to continue to identify these Child predators. Some cases that I was really excited about that just came out in the last, I would say a few weeks where a pastor in Orlando that we identified because of our technology that was, and these just happened to be a Florida cases, but we do work around the world. 

There was a middle and elementary school teacher just in the last few weeks that we identified and in Boca Raton, Florida, same town that we work in. And then another national case was actually 61 predators were just arrested in France, all fueled by our tool, an investigation done, which revealed teachers and coaches, a lot of trusted members of the community. So certainly by, by supporting our organization, you'll be able to keep tabs of, of the work that we're doing and know that you're making an impact in helping children rescuing victims and identifying these predators. 

We're going to be launching in a couple of weeks, a way for people to do an at home volunteer program, which is actually assembling and making care packages for law enforcement. So that when a child's rescued from the scene of a crime, that they have something really comforting and nice to give to that child. And it's also a way that you can give your local agency information about our tool and make sure that they're using it and if they are using it, thank them for the great job that they're doing. 

And maybe if they haven't heard of it yet and know that it's free and available to them, that they encourage them to get trained on our tool. We are excited to be launching that soon and will, will have updates on that on our newsletter and on our Facebook and Instagram. So definitely encourage people to sign up and learn more about the work that we're doing. Well, 

Speaker 1 (31m 21s): We are doing beautiful work. I really hope that some people kind of feel This and help support your cause. 

Speaker 2 (31m 28s): I think it's an amazing, thank you. Thank you so much. And gosh, thank you for highlighting what we're doing. And we just transitioned to a nonprofit about six years ago now, and it's really been amazing to see how many people from when we started are now willing to talk about this. And it's a dark issue. It's hard to hear about and hard to know how much of its going on. Do you think people are finally to a position where they, they want to talk about it and they want to do something, but a stop to it. 

And we just appreciate you for bringing awareness to our organization. 

Speaker 1 (32m 3s): Sure, of course. So I'll definitely keep an eye out and all of that and thank you again for joining. 

Speaker 0 (32m 8s): Thank you. 

Speaker 1 (32m 10s): That's it for this week's episode. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have the time please rate and review and you can always hit subscribe to stay up to date with our latest episodes. I hope to have you back 

Speaker 0 (32m 21s): <inaudible>.