Today sees the release of the latest VGT Child Sexual Exploitation Environmental Scan produced by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) which identifies the methods used by offenders to solicit their victims and avoid detection when sharing abuse material online, as well as challenges faced by law enforcement in combating these crimes.
This environmental scan has been commissioned by the Board of Management of the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), a collaborative partnership of law enforcement agencies dedicated to fighting online child sexual abuse worldwide, and will set its strategic priorities for the next four years.
Based upon the expertise of 35 specialist law enforcement officers representing VGT member agencies and information sourced from Europol’s 2015 and 2014 Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessments, the report finds that online child sexual exploitation modus operandi continue to develop in line with the increased adoption of Internet-based technology.
With encryption and other security measures increasingly used to distribute abuse material, be it through Tor or by misusing legitimate hosting possibilities, identifying and locating victims of on-going abuse is the top priority for law enforcement.
Also highlighted is the increase in the distribution of self-generated sexually explicit material and the need to make young people aware of how this material may be circulated without their consent and even used as a tool to blackmail them into sexual activity with an adult.
Major General Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Virtual Global Taskforce and Minister of the Interior of the United Arab Emirates, said: “In order to combat online child sexual exploitation, law enforcement must follow technological developments adopted by offenders to abuse and exploit children.”
Rob Wainwright, Europol’s Director, said: “As Internet technology further develops and previously under connected parts of the world come online, we can expect to see new offenders, new victims and new means of committing crimes against children. Increased law enforcement cooperation is key to fighting this dynamic criminal phenomenon”.
The VGT Environmental Scan is available