Global alliance to fight online child abuse

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström, together with US Attorney General Eric Holder, are launching a Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online. 

The initiative aims to unite decision-makers all around the world to better identify and assist victims and to prosecute the perpetrators. Participants at the launch in Brussels on 5 December include Ministers and high-level officials from 27 EU Member States, who are also joined by 21 countries outside the EU.

The countries of the alliance are committing themselves to a number of policy targets and goals.

“Behind every child abuse image is an abused child, an exploited and helpless victim. When these images are circulated online, they can live on forever. Our responsibility is to protect children wherever they live and to bring criminals to justice wherever they operate. The only way to achieve this is to team up for more intensive and better coordinated action worldwide”, said Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.

Malmström spoke at the opening of the expert conference on December 5th, and then held a press conference with Attorney General Holder. The expert conference was then followed by a ministerial meeting with participating countries during the afternoon.

Pedophile networks exploit the lack of information exchange and the legal loopholes that exist within and between countries. International cooperation is crucial to effectively investigate cases of child sexual abuse online and to better identify and prosecute offenders. Goals of the Alliance include reducing the availability of child abuse material online and increasing awareness of ‘grooming’ methods used by paedophiles.

One of the aims is also to establish dedicated law enforcement units for these crimes in all countries, and to make it easier to initiate joint cross-border police investigations. Co-operation with hotline services, where the public can report findings of online child pornography, should be intensified. Countries also commit themselves to making sure that the Interpol international database of child abuse material grows by 10 percent annually.

“This international initiative will strengthen our mutual resources to bring more perpetrators to justice, identify more victims of child sexual abuse, and ensure that they receive our help and support,” said US Attorney General Eric Holder. “Through this global alliance we can build on the success of previous cross-border police operations that have dismantled international pedophile networks and safeguard more of the world’s children.”

It is estimated that more than one million images of children subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation are currently online. According to UNODC 50, 000 new child abuse images are added each year.

Along with the 27 EU members and the US, the members of the Alliance include Albania, Australia, Cambodia, Croatia, Georgia, Ghana, Japan, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, the Philippines, Serbia, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam.

Source: European Commission “Global alliance to fight online child abuse” December 5, 2012

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