Forty-eight countries join forces to launch fight against online child sex abuse
Forty-eight countries have joined forces to launch the most expansive fight ever against the spread of online child sex abuse in an initiative called the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), there are more than 1 million images of abused or exploited children online and that number grows by 50,000 new images each year. According to EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström and US Attorney General Eric Holder:
“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.”
The initiative will include
- Enhance efforts to identify victims and ensure that they receive the necessary assistance, support and protection;
- Enhance efforts to investigate cases of child sexual abuse online and to identify and prosecute offenders;
- Increase children’s awareness of online risks, including the self-production of images and “grooming” methods used by pedophiles;
- Reduce the availability of child abuse material online and the re-victimization of children;
- Establish dedicated law enforcement units for these crimes in all countries;
- Make it easier to initiate joint cross-border police investigations;
- Intensify co-operation with hotline services, where the public can report findings of online child pornography; and
- Ensure that the Interpol international database of child abuse material grows by 10 percent annually.
The initiative is designed to bolster exactly that type of international cooperation, which is crucial to investigators as they investigate child sexual abuse online and identify and prosecute offenders.
“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. … 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.”