Cover photo screenshot of Youtube video. Trigger warning: Some may find the following post to be graphic and/or disturbing.
Blake Lively is taking a stand and speaking out against child exploitation imagery—or “child porn”—in a big way. Recently, the actress, activist, and mother of two spoke of the importance of eradicating sexual exploitation of children at the Variety magazine’s Power of Women event in New York City, which honored her efforts among a class of several other distinguished women of influence.
But it was Lively’s speech that brought the tears and the heartbreaking facts to light. Though the issue is one that is as dark as reality gets, the Hollywood star was a ray of light at the event, full of passion and love as she talked about the good work one particular organization is doing in the fight for the safety of children everywhere.
“I’m Here As A Momma”
“I’m here today because I’m a momma.” Lively began, expressing her love and devotion to her children, and added, “If you think of what you would do for your child, I don’t think there’s anything you wouldn’t ask of yourself.” Which, for her, means using the best of technology to fight the worst of crimes, and using her platform to gather support for others to fight as well.
The actress became visibly shaken while describing some of the disturbing details she came across in her pursuit to understand just what is happening in the dark world of child exploiters and pedophiles. Speaking through tears, and powerfully explaining of the importance of eradicating child exploitation imagery, she introduced the Child Rescue Coalition to the room.
Her passion, emotion, and power, the things that make her a true Fighter, were evident on that platform in New York, and you really need to just watch it to get the full experience of her incredible speech. And be warned, because she does not shy away from the graphic details of the abuse that’s out there:
As she described in heartbreaking detail the horrifying realities law enforcement faces when pursuing consumers and traders of these kinds of images, Lively explained that when it comes to sexually exploiting children, there simply are no boundaries. It’s a practice that happens all over the world, and also in our own communities.
She also said that “the average abuser abuses between 50 and 100 children in their lifetime,” and followed up with what we know to be all to common for porn consumers who eventually find the need to act out what they are viewing. “Between 55 and 90% of people viewing it are actually hands-on abusers or will become abusers,” citing research from the Coalition.
An Important Fight
For many of us, it’s often easier not to think about the horrible things that can happen to children. It can make it seem farther away. But thankfully, there are organizations that are tackling the issue, head-on.
The Child Rescue Coalition harnesses new and innovative internet technology to track down downloaders of abusive material. And they do it, as Variety reported, by “promoting a groundbreaking technology that flags the IP addresses of people who share and download sexually explicit images of minors.”
And while this was by far the largest platform to bring attention to the work the Coalition is doing, the actress has drawning attention to them for a while through her personal Instagram.
Victims Without Voices
In her speech, Lively made the connection to the compulsive need for more extreme content, saying that due to the nature of the internet with so much explicit content readily available, the consumers get desensitized, and as a result, “the kids are getting younger and the content is getting that much more devastating,” she said.
She described how one law enforcement officer told her that videos can feature infants. Still unable to grasp the reality of it, she asked what that meant, and he told her “with the umbilical cord still attached.” And this to the tune of 30 to 50 million files a day being traded—which number includes only the ones that are known.
“It’s happening to any child, to every child.” the actress said, citing again her own children as motivation to fight for the rights and safety of others. She added that children were, unfortunately, ideal victims because they can’t speak up, or when they do, they are not good witnesses in a court.
The Reason For Hope
Lively praised the Coalition by saying it was “proactive,” regarding these silent victims and that “they don’t wait for these children to speak up. Their work has led to some truly dramatic results.”
Founded in 2013, the Coalition has played a key role assisting law enforcement in arresting 9,000 offenders, and saving more than 2,000 kids from active abuse, according to some of the statistics the actress and activist shared in her speech, and by all counts it really is just beginning to scratch the surface.
In what is a unique and brilliant idea, Lively also explained how the Coalition is also hoping to broaden its scope to include communicating with companies like Uber or Care.com, essentially flagging those who trade or view any of these files for immediate disqualification should they apply for work in those capacities.
As for Lively, not only is she passionate about protecting children but she’s using her connections and star-powered platform to give a louder voice to the Child Rescue Coalition. Acknowledging the issues we all need to be talking about she said, “Unspeakable things are happening, but…I’m going to speak about them because I feel like if these kids are experiencing this [abuse], the least that they deserve is for us to hear what is actually happening to them.”
We support Blake Lively in her fight to end the sexual exploitation of children, and we applaud her boldness in speaking out for those who cannot speak for themselves. We hope to see more people get involved with the movement to stop the demand as the research continues to show the facts.
If you’re moved by Blake Lively’s speech, and the need to speak up about assisting law enforcement around the globe to proactively detect, identify and prosecute those who sexually exploit children via the Internet, SHARE this post!
If you’re interested in working directly with sex trafficking survivors, HELP International and FTND are offering an all-expense paid volunteer trip to Nepal to the grand-prize winner of our #StopTheDemand campaign. Our Co-Founder and President Clay Olsen is volunteering at the Nepal Shelter in June, and the #StopTheDemand campaign winner will work alongside our Executive Director Natale McAneney during the 11-day August volunteer trip being given away.
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