18 Aug A Talk With Carly Yoost, Founder of Child Rescue Coalition
Carly Yoost, founder and CEO of Boca Raton-based Child Rescue Coalition, is fighting every day to protect the world’s youth. A map of the world displayed on a 65-inch wall-mounted monitor welcomes guests into the Child Rescue Coalition office. The map looks like it has the chickenpox—it’s covered with countless red dots that make some countries almost indistinguishable.
“Every dot is someone possessing and distributing child pornography in real time,” says Carly Yoost, founder and CEO of the Boca Raton-based Child Rescue Coalition (CRC). Yoost, 35, founded the organization in 2013. In just a short amount of time, she has created a network of dedicated police officers and advocates—including A-list actress Blake Lively—who have helped with the arrests of more than 9,000 child predators worldwide and the rescue of more than 2,000 children.
“We are fighting every day for children so that they don’t become subjected to child abuse,” she says. And Yoost fights with a powerful weapon. Yoost’s father, Hank Asher, was often referred to as the “father of data fusion.” He created reference databases and risk management tools for companies, law enforcement and media that assist in fraud protection, debt recovery or identity verification. These tools were the birthplace of the technology that is now used by the CRC to catch child abusers.
“My father was an adrenaline junkie who wanted to save the world,” Yoost says with a smile. “He was very passionate about protecting children and even sat on the board of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.” After her father passed away, Yoost knew this powerful technology had to continue to be available to officers at no cost, but she wanted to make one change.
“We had something remarkable, and I wanted to create a shift to let our community know about it,” Yoost says. “It used to be a covert tool only law enforcement knew about. Now our entire community is behind us.” Her organization created an online platform that polices public networks, takes digital notes of IP addresses illegally trading child pornography and reports back to local authorities through CRC’s proprietary software. The Internet isn’t restricted by borders and neither is CRC’s technology. Anywhere around the world where people are trading child pornography, the organization knows about it.
But this isn’t happening just in the far recesses of the world. It’s happening right here. During the last year, CRC has tracked more than 3,000 Florida offenders—each in possession of hundreds, if not thousands, of child pornography files. Thus far in 2017, CRC has tracked almost 200 perpetrators in Broward County and more than 220 in Palm Beach County.
“Victims don’t always come forward, so we have to be proactive to find these people trading child pornography and abusing children,” Yoost says. “Palm Beach and Broward counties are the most proactive counties in the whole world,” she adds. CRC’s sophisticated technology catered to catching child predators is available at no cost to the 10,000 officers worldwide who are currently using the software.
“Our officers are the heroes who are saving our children and protecting the innocent,” Yoost says. The coalition’s technology allows investigators to review files, report illegal ones and access them as evidence for arrests. “Our data has never been thrown out in a case,” Yoost says. “There have been claims of privacy issues, but we simply track data accessible on public networks. We’re not hacking into anyone’s device.”
With Yoost’s fiery passion and unwavering dedication, CRC has now added Hollywood actress Blake Lively as one of its most stellar power players. The duo met last year when Yoost was celebrated as the national honoree winner at the 2016 L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth reception in New York City. Each of the 10 women honored were champions of noteworthy causes and matched up with a philanthropic celebrity. “What’s incredible about the CRC is that they are proactive,” Lively said at a Variety event she was honored at this year. “They don’t wait for children to speak up.” Lively has since joined forces with Yoost to draw national attention and recognition to CRC. The partnership has helped CRC grow its reach and enabled it to get its software into the hands of more law enforcement officers.
“Child abuse and child pornography are difficult topics to talk about, but once people see our passion, they really want to help,” Yoost says. “We just need to keep fighting.”