NEWS 2013

INHOPE co-chairs Child Sexual Exploitation Experts seminar hosted by EC3/ Europol

November 14, 2013

Cooperation among law enforcement, child protection hotlines, NGOs and the private sector was discussed at the Child Sexual Exploitation Experts seminar which took place on 13 November at Europol, The Hague.


The seminar was co-chaired by the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and INHOPE (the International Association of Internet Hotlines).

 


The keynote speech “Age assessments from images” was delivered by Dr Sharon Cooper from the University of North Carolina. Representatives of Google, Microsoft and Facebook described their efforts in supporting law enforcement work all over the world.


Some technological developments are helpful in the day-to-day work of investigators, but many others can be used to obstruct law enforcement efforts. That is why cooperation between law enforcement and the private sector is invaluable. One such initiative is the European Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online (EFC), the activities of which were presented during the seminar by Missing Children Europe.


Case studies demonstrating the benefits of public-private information exchange were well received by the audience. Special attention was given to emerging trends in the field of child sexual exploitation, such as sextortion and live streaming. The need for the consistent use of correct terminology was again underlined, for example referring to “child sexual exploitation” instead of “child pornography”.

 

“Yesterday around 190 experts from Industry, NGO, Academia and Law Enforcement met at Europol to discuss how best to cooperate in this difficult but important crime field. Many new ideas and possibilities were discussed and our network has been further developed and enhanced. The trend seems to be that the abuse is expanding, using live streaming and hidden services on the Internet. This makes it more difficult for law enforcement to track down the perpetrators, but the spirit during the meeting remained optimistic and positive. I would like to thank each and every participant in the meeting for their dedication to saving babies and children from being abused and sexually exploited. What we do together is invaluable and makes a difference - and every rescued child is a great victory”, Troels Oerting, Head of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) said.

 

Russell Chadwick, Executive Director of INHOPE, stated: “This is an extraordinary opportunity for our member hotlines and national law enforcement agencies to take stock of recent progress, share knowledge on current trends and anticipate future threats. Online child sexual exploitation is likely to rise in the coming years, with ever-increasing Internet adoption rates globally. To prevent and protect, we need maximum cooperation and a multi-stakeholder approach. Digital citizens need to know where to report illegal content and criminal conduct. For this very reason, the INHOPE family continues to expand. Just this week, we welcomed new members and we are now a network of 49 hotlines in 43 countries, and therefore an ever-more relevant partner to law enforcement, as a provider of quality leads and actionable intelligence. This is of critical importance in emerging markets, where child sex tourism is closely linked to the production of child sexual abuse.”

 

There is no doubt that combating child sexual exploitation requires cross-sector efforts and understanding. According to the participants of this seminar, Europol perfectly fulfils its role in this field, by facilitating a constant dialogue between the law enforcement community and the other key stakeholders.

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Let’s all practice zero tolerance to child sexual abuse imagery. One report can make a difference. To the digital citizens out there, if you stumble across anything you suspect to be a child sexual abuse image or video, do the right thing, report it and once confirmed, with our industry and law enforcement partners, we will make sure such content is taken down as quickly and effectively as possible.

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