Three new industry partners have joined the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) alliance, as part of the ongoing fight against online child sexual exploitation.
The End Child Prostitution Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes network (ECPAT International), International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE) and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) last month became private industry partners of the VGT.
By joining the VGT as an industry partner, these organisations demonstrate their commitment to helping reduce the threat to children online.
Chair of the VGT Neil Gaughan said that the VGT recognises that the fight against online child sexual exploitation can not be undertaken by law enforcement alone.
"The private sector has a large part to play in reducing the threat to children online. The VGT can benefit by working with these organisations through sharing knowledge, information and resources and joint education and training activities.
"I welcome these industry partners as part of this very important initiative to make the internet a safer place for children," Neil Gaughan said.
ECPAT is a global network of organisations committed to protecting children from sexual exploitation. By having an in depth understanding of the online experiences of children, ECPAT is able to share valuable research and intelligence with other VGT partners and law enforcement agencies.
Kathleen Speake, Executive Director of ECPAT International said that the expansion of the internet and mobile technologies has made existing methods of child sexual abuse more convenient and risk–free.
"The internet has offered new and increasingly harmful ways for the violation of children‘s rights. We all have a duty of care to protect them from being targets for abuse, violence and exploitation online.
"The Virtual Global Taskforce allows us to share a range of comprehensive and innovative measures to address this growing problem. Together we send a collective message that the internet is no longer an anonymous, risk-free environment for sexual offenders," Kathleen Speake said.
ICMEC is leading a global movement to protect children from sexual exploitation and abduction. ICMEC works with partners on six continents to provide governments, law enforcement agencies, private sector companies, and non governmental organisations with the training, expertise and support required to enforce and protect the rights of children.
"Building a global fortress is the only way to fight a crime that knows no geographic boundaries," said Nancy Dube, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, of ICMEC. "We are proud to join the Virtual Global Taskforce in this battle."
INHOPE supports and coordinates worldwide internet hotlines dealing with illegal content online, primarily child sexual abuse material. With internet hotlines being an effective first line of defence against illegal activity online, INHOPE‘s work strongly aligns with the VGT‘s aims of keeping children safe online.
Members of the VGT include the Australian Federal Police, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (UK), the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Italian Postal and Communication Police Service, INTERPOL, the Ministry of Interior for the United Arab Emirates, the New Zealand Police and Europol.
The VGT website is currently undergoing a makeover, with the new website due to go live in June 2011: http://www.virtualglobaltaskforce.com/