48 countries worldwide join forces to fight child sexual abuse online
December 05, 2012
On 5 December, EU Commissioner for
Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström together with US Attorney General Eric
Holder will launch 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 include Ministers and high-level officials
from 27 EU Member States, who are also joined by 21 countries outside
the EU (Albania, Australia, Cambodia, Croatia, Georgia, Ghana, Japan,
Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, the Philippines,
Serbia, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine,
United States of America, and Vietnam).
The countries of the alliance are
committing themselves to a number of policy targets and goals. Thanks to
increased international cooperation, the fight against child sexual
abuse online will therefore be more effective.
"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 for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström.
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 Attorney General 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.
No country can fight this horrible
phenomenon alone, as the criminal networks behind it know no boundaries
and exploit the lack of information exchange and the legal loopholes
that exist within and between countries. This is why international
cooperation is crucial to effectively investigate cases of child sexual
abuse online and to better identify and prosecute offenders.
Global Alliance: Greater commitments for better results
Tomorrow at the launching
conference, the participating countries will make political commitments
to pursue a number of goals, notably:
Enhancing efforts to identify victims and ensuring that they receive the necessary assistance, support and protection;
Enhancing efforts to investigate cases of child sexual abuse online and to identify and prosecute offenders;
Increasing children's awareness of
online risks, including the self-production of images and 'grooming'
methods used by paedophiles
Reducing the availability of child abuse material online and the re-victimization of children.
Countries would then choose the appropriate action to take at national level to achieve them, and would report regularly.
The EU has made progress on a variety of fronts, not least through ambitious legislation to combat trafficking in Human beings (Directive 2011/36/EU) and the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography (Directive 2011/93/EU). These laws cover the prosecution of offenders, protection of victims and crime prevention.
regularly supports international police operations. In 2011, operation
Rescue led to the identification of 779 suspects across the world, 250
were arrested and 252 children safeguarded. Often, investigation of
online child abuse is a key lead for dismantling networks of child-abuse
perpetrators. The European Cyber Crime
Centre (EC3), opening in January 2013 at Europol in The Hague, will have
child abuse material online as a main focus. The Commission also supports
INHOPE, a network of NGO-run hotlines in EU States that collects
reports on child abuse websites so that they could be removed and
investigated (Safer Internet Programme).
Yet much more
needs to be done, and it has to be done globally. The Global Alliance
will keep the fight against child sexual abuse online high on national
agendas. This in turn is likely to improve resources dedicated to
combating these crimes, legislation and cooperation of national forces
worldwide. 48 countries are joining forces now, and more may come once
the Global Alliance has been formally launched.
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