Yesterday, 12 June 2013, the 3rdmeeting of the European Financial Coalition Steering Group (EFC) took place. The Steering Group is in charge of the overall management of an EU project, funded by DG Home, which focuses on preventing and combatting on-line financial abuse of children. It is chaired by the Head of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol and includes representatives from Missing Children Europe (coordinator of the EFC Secretariat), the International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE), EUROJUST, Microsoft, Google, Visa Europe, MasterCard Europe, PayPal, the Dutch National Police, and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC - Advisor).
The meeting discussed the disturbing trend by which children are abused on-line in live streams, which are then sold to buyers for the profit. Relevant to this is the complementarity of the work developed by the EFC and other European and international initiatives and projects aimed at protecting children online, and how the fight against the exploitation of children should be a coordinated effort by several countries and public and private initiatives, such as:
- Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse online
- Virtual Global Taskforce on online child sexual abuse (VGT)
- EU EMPACT priority area: Child Sexual Exploitation.
- ICT Coalition
The EFC is organized in several Work Packages and during this meeting the Steering Group discussed the development and performance of each package and progress towards its deliverables. For example, some of the practical solutions focus on strategic analysis and reporting products as well as training for LEA & PSP.
Since the beginning of the project, the interest in membership of the EFC continues to grow, and several applications, including some from the Internet Watch Foundation, Videntifier Technologies, the GSMA, Netclean Technologies Sweden and G2 Web Services, were discussed and reviewed by the Steering Group members. The meeting also reported progress in shared work streams and praised the productive and productive cooperation between industry and law enforcement – which is key to achieving success in combatting commercial sexual exploitation of children on-line. Elements like joint strategic analysis, awareness projects, training and sharing of best practice are part of the work streams.
The EFC continues to progress at a fast pace in the fight against the commercial exploitation of children online, focusing on strategic and operational training and cooperation with the private sector.
The Steering Group will also look at ongoing efforts in strategic analysis and reporting as well as training for LEA & PSP. The meeting was also attended by observers from the EC DG CONNECT, DG Justice and DG Home Affairs.
At the end of the meeting the Chair, Troels Oerting, Head of EC3 said:
“The work done jointly by private partners, industry, NGOs and Law Enforcement through EFC has become ever more important in order to achieve tangible results and prevent children from being raped and abused by criminals for money. Joining forces and working together is the way forward, and the members of EFC are committed to contribute in ways based on the specific expertise of their membership, composed of key participants from law enforcement, payment system providers, ISPs and other important stakeholders.”