Private industry, NGOs and law enforcement step up the fight against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online

26 November 2012
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Brussels

Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs and Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol announced the launch a new European Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online. The 36-months project co-financed by the European Commission will tackle old and new online commercial distribution practices of child sexual abuse material.

Representatives of law enforcement, civil society and private industry have launched the new European Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online (EFC).

This initiative, co-financed and supported by the European Commission, aims to fight the sexual exploitation of children online by taking action via the payment and ICT systems that are used to run these illegal operations. It builds on a previous project launched in 2009 which aimed at combating commercial websites facilitating the trade of child abuse material.

“Child abuse and its commercial exploitation are heinous crimes against our most vulnerable citizens. We must bring together key players from law enforcement, industry and civil society to halt the shameful trade in child abuse material. This coalition does exactly that”, Cecilia Malmström said.

While enormous progress has already been made and the number of traditional commercial websites has decreased, one has witnessed over the past years a migration towards more opaque online environments, such as chat groups or private, peer-to-peer file sharing networks (darknet).

Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol and President of the EFC said: “As the commercial exploitation of child abuse takes new forms and is increasingly difficult to track, law enforcement needs to get a better insight into the payment and ICT capabilities of criminals. That is why cooperating with the private sector and civil society in the framework of such initiatives has become more important than ever.

The new European Financial Coalition will work towards five objectives:

  1. Support international law enforcement investigations; wherever possible through cooperation with private stakeholders;
  2. Assess & study the commercial child sexual exploitation on the Internet through all kinds of Internet environments, such as hosting services, newsgroups, etc.
  3. Help protect legitimate private business interests from possible misuse of their services  perpetrated by criminals with the aim of distributing  child sexual abuse content through different information & communication technologies;
  4. Empower law enforcement & private companies in counteracting the problem through the delivery of training & sharing of resources
  5. Inform decision makers & raise awareness among the public about the EFC’s activities

The chair of the new European Financial Coalition is held by Europol. The secretariat is hosted by Missing Children Europe in Brussels and led by a Steering Committee composed of representatives of Inhope, MasterCard, Visa Europe, Paypal, Microsoft, Google, Eurojust, the KLPD, and the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC).

For further information, please contact:
Delphine Moralis, Deputy-Secretary General, Missing Children Europe,
Email: delphine.moralis@missingchildreneurope.eu
Tel: + 32 2 894 74 82

The European Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online (EFC) brings together key actors from law enforcement, the private sector and civil society in Europe with the common goal of fighting the commercial sexual exploitation of children online. Members of the EFC join forces to take action on the payment and ICT systems that are used to run these illegal operations. For further information, please visit www.europeanfinancialcoalition.eu