Attorney General Eric Holder and European Union (EU) Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström will launch the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online at a ministerial conference tomorrow, Dec. 5, 2012, in Brussels. 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 22 countries outside the EU, including Albania, Australia, Cambodia, Canada Croatia, Georgia, Ghana, Japan, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, the Philippines, Serbia, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United States and Vietnam.
"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 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."
"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.
The countries of the alliance are committing themselves to a number of policy targets and goals aimed at combating the pervasive problem of child sexual abuse online - including the manufacturing and sharing of child pornography, online enticement of minors and online child prostitution. Thanks to increased international cooperation, the fight against child sexual abuse online will therefore be more effective.
End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes International studies indicate that more than one million images of children subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation are currently online. According to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, 50,000 new child abuse images are added online 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.