New tactics for tackling online sexual predators
8 Dec 2010 12:12 PM
The Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) Conference held this week highlighting that international law enforcement agencies need to work with global industry partners, including non-government organisations, to keep children across the world safe from online child sexual exploitation.
The fourth biennial international VGT conference held in Sydney closed on Friday and saw VGT senior board members from the eight international partner agencies reiterate the importance of a multi-faceted approach to the fight against online child sexual abuse and removing children from harm.
The VGT approach into the future will not only involve law enforcement, but industry, key international non-government organisations, academia and continue working with today’s youth. This will build on the need to constantly involve children and their parents, teachers and carers to raise awareness on how to remain safe online.
VGT Chair and Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner National Manager of High, Tech Crime Operations Neil Gaughan said he was impressed with the outcomes of the conference which paved the way forward for the VGT in combating internet facilitated child exploitation.
“From the partnerships, commitments and key recommendations made over the last two days, the VGT board of management have agreed on several vital resolutions for the future of stamping out internet facilitated crime against children.
“This includes VGT partners building stronger alliances and expanding VGT membership with organisations outside of law enforcement. Collaboration is the key and all children, no matter where they are in the world, have the right to be happy, safe and enjoy their experiences in both the real and virtual world and the VGT acknowledges that law enforcement agencies can not do this alone.
“Over the next 12 months and beyond, the VGT will work with the 96 countries that do not currently have child protection laws, as required by the United Nations Convention, to assist in the development appropriate legislation to continue to protect children from exploitation.
“We will work towards developing an effective method for the exchange of information and evidence with overseas partners, including sharing international hash set values given to identify every child abuse image seized. We will continue to break down the digital divide in the fight against online crime against children.
Through the conference, the Virtual Global Taskforce has fostered new working relationships with a number of industry partners to overcome some of the technological challenges that law enforcement currently face when dealing with online child sexual exploitation.
"The Virtual Global Taskforce is committed to taking forward these outcomes in collaboration with international partners in all sectors.
"In the fight against online child sexual exploitation we have seen the escalation of the internet but regardless of this technology, this crime will continue to occur. VGT partners will continue to use this technology to help fight this heinous crime and kept today’s children safe," Assistant Commissioner Gaughan said.
The VGT Conference held on 2-3 December 2010 encapsulated the theme ‘Global Child Protection in Tomorrow’s Virtual World’. The conference, hosted by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for the first time, brought together 240 international delegates from 23 countries including Russia, Germany, South Africa, Brazil, Malaysia, Iran, and Vietnam and spanned over 50 agencies to address child safety in the online environment.
The VGT was established in 2003 to combat the increasingly prevalent crime of online child sexual abuse. The AFP has been a member since the VGT was established, and in December 2009 assumed the responsibility as the VGT Chair and Secretariat for a threeyear period.
Short videos and photos from the conference are available on the AFP website.
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