Thursday, July 18, 2024

Fighting the Good Fight

Carly Yoost is under the radar.

And changing the world, one day at a time.

This self-described “introvert” and Delray soccer mom runs the nonprofit Child Rescue Coalition (CRC), and was recently named Woman Volunteer of the Year by the Junior League of Boca Raton. (“I totally did not expect to win at all. I was honored and blown away!”)

Her work is a continuation of that of her father, the late Hank Asher, described by many as a genius—and highly colorful—pioneer in data mining software who spent millions of his own fortune fighting child pornography. After his death in 2013, his daughters Carly and Desiree sold his company TLO (the acronym for The Last One, the final of three companies, including Database Technologies and Seisint), to TransUnion.

“The Child Rescue Coalition was built upon more of the philanthropic feel-good department of TLO, just a team of programmers and law enforcement working on this project helping identify child predators and rescue children that were being abused,” Yoost says. “We built that technology, so when we sold it to TransUnion, we said ‘we want to maintain possession of this free technology.’ We licensed it through the nonprofit Child Rescue Coalition, and we were able to start the CRC that year. We just expanded how the world is using this tool and how many officers are using it.”

The technology CRC uses is a highly guarded secret, but Yoost says “it works by identifying people who are online in public peer-to-peer file-sharing networks trading illegal child sexual abuse material. We allow access to law enforcement globally to view those leads and make them actionable to find the person who is trading illegal content. We leave [law enforcement] to make the arrest of the individual and recover any evidence or any children who are being videotaped or abused.”

There are only 11 employees at CRC, but the nondescript office at BRIC has an international reach.

“We have trained investigators in 97 countries,” Yoost says. “We have big partnerships in other countries where they are actively building cases and rescuing children based on our leads…”

And they have managed to keep the technology free through grant funding, corporate partnerships, and individual small and large-level donors.

Yoost and her organization have won impressive awards, but she’s the last one who’d tell you that. Nor is she plugged into the local glittering social circuit, preferring to do her work and spend time with her family. When it comes to what drives her, she says, “For one, I was raised watching my dad have this big passion in life. And knowing you could build technology to solve world problems. This is one of the most important causes there is.

“What really motivates me is not only are these files illegal and felony-level, but that 85 percent of the people dealing with this kind of content have already been hands-on abusers of children. I have seen the broken model of our telling survivors to ‘come forward’ and say they are being abused, but we see over and over again that there is not enough evidence to convict people. We need more proactive tools like this [technology] that are identifying predators, hopefully before they go on to abuse hundreds of children.”

About 14,000 child predators have been arrested because of the ever-evolving CRC technology, and Yoost says that helps when working in an organization engaged in fighting one of the darkest enemies extant today.

“That keeps us going. It feels like bringing light to a very dark topic—knowing that in some way you are chipping away at it and creating something that is making an impact. That you are preventing future children from being abused.”

This article is from the February 2023 issue of Boca magazine. For more like this, click here to subscribe to the magazine.

Marie Speed
Marie Speed
Marie Speed is group editor of all JES publications, including Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Worth Avenue, Mizner’s Dream and the annual publication for the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. She also oversees editorial operations of the company’s Salt Lake City magazines. Her community involvement has ranged from work with the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce to a longtime board member position at Caridad Center. She is also on the George Snow Scholarship Fund review committee. She is a past officer of the Florida Magazine Association and a member of Class XVII of Leadership Florida. In her spare time, Marie enjoys South Florida’s natural world through hiking and kayaking, and she is an avid reader and an enthusiastic cook.

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