Blake Lively got emotional during her speech at Variety's Power of Women awards in New York City. The mother of two spoke about the importance of eradicating child pornography, a project that she's taken on in partnership with the Child Rescue Coalition, an organization that works to stop the trafficking of files and protects children from active abuse. At the awards presentation, Salma Hayek handed Lively her award before she gave an honest and heartfelt speech about her passion project and why it's vital that people everywhere come together to stop child pornography.
"I would do anything to protect them, I would literally die for them without a moment's thought," Lively said of her daughters, James and Ines. After having children of her own, Lively explains that she saw the importance of protecting all kids from exploitation. "I didn't really know what child pornography as, I was afraid to ask what it was, as a mother, because it would be painful to hear," she explained. "But I felt I had to ask, and I wanted to share with you. It is the truth, and I believe if we all knew this, we would dedicate much more of ourselves to stopping it."
After explaining what child pornography was to the audience, Lively was visibly shaken, her voice cracking when she explained that sometimes, the photos could show children as young as infants. As she described the horrendous things that law enforcement finds, Lively explained that it's something that happens all over the world and that often, people who work with kids can be the perpetrators of child pornography.
"There was a nurse that was working with children with mental and physical disabilities," Lively explained. "And when he was caught, they asked him how many children he abused. He looked outside the window at the snow and said, 'How many snowflakes are outside?'"
Lively offered more startling statistics — only 10% of children speak up after they've endured the atrocities — and explained that the Child Rescue Coalition works with law enforcement agencies to stop the predators and perpetrators in their tracks before they can abuse an average of 50-100 children in their lifetimes.
"There are millions of files all over the world being traded every single day of child pornography," Lively told Variety earlier this month. The Child Rescue Coalition has already found 9,000 predators and saved 2,000 children and offers its services, which track the trading of pornography to IP addresses, free of charge to local authorities.
Lively explained that the organization is working to widen its services so that if someone who has been trading material applies to work at Care.com or a company like Uber, they will face immediate rejection due to their involvement with child porn. The Coalition also wants to offer the IP addresses to Comcast and other ISPs so that they can block the sharing and spreading of the files, as well.
Her passion was evident throughout her speech. Lively acknowledged that some of the information that she shared was painful and difficult to hear, but stressed the importance of stopping child pornography and those who spread it.
Watch her whole acceptance speech, below.