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Interview with the Founder of SOSA

Ashley Pierson
September 13, 2021

Spectrum Labs is happy to announce its new partnership with Founder of SOSA - Safe from Online Sex Abuse, Roo Powell.

RooSOSA

Meet Roo!

Roo Powell is an award-winning writer, child advocate, and founder of SOSA, a non-profit committed to raising awareness and combating the pervasiveness of online child sex abuse and exploitation. Her writing and work reflect her passion and advocacy for human rights, covering sex trafficking, poverty, race relations, refugee crises, and child wellness.

In 2019, Roo wrote a narrative highlighting the pervasiveness of child predation online that was viewed more than 7 million times, covered by multiple news outlets, translated into half a dozen languages, and spurred on a conversation about child safety in the modern age. 

She previously sat on the board for The Cove, a non-profit that services children who have lost a parent or a sibling. Roo has been featured as a writer, speaker, and advocate in/at SXSW, The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, Nightline, Sunrise Australia, CTV, BuzzFeed, Expo East, Huffington Post, Parents, HLN, BlogHer, Mom 2.0 Summit, Dad 2.0 Summit, Unilever Corporate, and various local news outlets.

1. Can you tell us about SOSA? 

SOSA helps combat online sex abuse and exploitation in collaboration with and consultation from law enforcement. Using a variety of tactics — including studying offenders’ language and stratagem — SOSA identifies pockets of the internet where offenders target minors and reports information to various Internet Crimes Against Children task forces throughout the US.

SOSA advocates for better and broader internet safety legislation, creates educational materials for minors and their caretakers, and partners with schools to raise awareness around the pervasiveness of online child sex abuse and exploitation. In combination with these efforts, we support organizations committed to helping abuse survivors and enhancing public safety through online sex abuse prevention and rehabilitation for would-be perpetrators.

2. Why did you decide to start SOSA? 

I am a long-time writer and child advocate, and the biggest impetus for SOSA is that kids are dealing with "abuse you don't see" - online sex abuse and exploitation. Complicating matters is the fact that online abuse isn't well-known or understood, leaving a lot of kids and teens wrestling with feelings of shame and isolation. Widespread awareness - for parents and caregivers - can help all of us responsible adults to help kids in our communities.

2. Why are you joining Spectrum as an advisor? What do you want to achieve through the mission, vision, and products of Spectrum's?

I really love Spectrum's mission to make the internet a safe place for all. Our experiences with studying the language and methodology perpetrators use and employ allows me to help Spectrum to be able to detect signs of CSAM and abuse. It was a no-brainer as far as partnerships go, and I'm honored to be an advisor.

3. With your subject matter expertise, how can Spectrum do more to safeguard the internet?

At this point, I've communicated with thousands of people who attempt to build relationships with minors online. Subsequently, I've become familiar with patterns and tactics that perpetrators use. My goal at Spectrum is to help inform them in building out the model that detects signs of CSAM and sex abuse. I'm able to inform Spectrums Product and Data Science teams on the processes and signs of grooming behavior.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Roo!

Register for the master class with Roo Powell, Lisa Thee and Kris McGuffie to hear their recommendations for platforms to keep their underage users safe.

Register for the Master Class | Age Does Matter

Live Master Class Age does matter (6)-2

If you are interested in learning more about SOSA, visit their website.

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