Crimes against children

Crimes against children tend to be local crimes with the vast majority taking place within the home or family circle.  There are, however, a number of areas where there is an international angle:  

  • Internet crimes: crimes against children are facilitated by the Internet, the increased use of which in recent years has led to a huge rise in offending. Not only can offenders distribute and access child abuse material more easily, but they can also come into direct contact with children – via chatrooms and social networking sites. We run a project in conjunction with Internet Access Service Providers to block access to child abuse material online
  • Travelling sex offenders: also known as “sex tourism”, this type of crime involves the abuse of children in developing countries by people who travel there. The relative wealth of the offender coupled with lack of understanding or effective legislation means that the abuse of children is easier in these countries. This type of crime is linked to child trafficking, organized crime and murder.

These types of crimes represent a huge challenge for police worldwide and require specialized skills and increased resources. At INTERPOL, we encourage investigators around the world to make maximum use of our tools and services.

  • Victim identification: we work to identify the victims of child sexual abuse depicted in photographs and films. This involves a combination of traditional investigative methods and image analysis. Crucial to this work is the International Child Sexual Exploitation image database which uses sophisticated image comparison software to make connections between victims and places.
  • Yellow Notices: at the request of a member country, INTERPOL can issue a yellow notice to help locate missing persons, especially minors. These notices are circulated on an international basis and recorded in INTERPOL's database of missing and abducted children.

We also provide training and promote best practice to police in our member countries. We bring together experts in the INTERPOL Specialists Group on Crimes against Children. Formed in 1992, this group consists of a number of sub-groups dealing with particular issues and chaired by investigators from around the world.

In addition, we work closely with many other agencies, both governmental and non governmental, in this area and are involved in many training programmes and other projects worldwide. In particular, we work in partnership with CIRCAMP (the COSPOL Internet Related Child Abuse Material Project) and the Virtual Global Taskforce.

It is worth noting that we avoid using the term "child pornography" when describing images of sexual abuse of children. Other, more appropriate terminology includes the term "child sexual abuse material".

20 February 2015

Togo police arrest suspected child rapist accused of kidnapping two girls from Benin

11 December 2014

INTERPOL role in combating online child abuse recognized by #WeProtect Global Summit

10 December 2014

Stronger cooperation key to success in online child abuse investigations, says INTERPOL Chief

23 June 2014

INTERPOL officer recognized for efforts to protect children’s rights with international award

18 June 2014

Child abuse ring identified through international collaboration via INTERPOL

05 June 2014

Police and public unite behind INTERPOL campaign to #TurnBackCrime

10 April 2014

Human trafficking an open wound on society, Pope Francis tells conference

09 April 2014

INTERPOL Chief tells human trafficking conference ‘we are allies in global fight to protect human life and dignity’

04 April 2014

Children rescued from trafficking and exploitation in Côte d’Ivoire operation supported by INTERPOL

31 October 2013

Protecting victims of child sexual abuse focus of INTERPOL meeting

02 October 2013

International collaboration via INTERPOL leads to arrest of suspected child abuser

04 September 2013

Collaboration within INTERPOL global network snares US school volunteer suspected of child abuse

14 August 2013

INTERPOL-supported operation targeting online child abuse materials leads to arrests across Latin America

31 May 2013

Increased law enforcement cooperation key to fighting online child abuse

16 April 2013

Use of INTERPOL global tools results in arrest of child abusers and rescue of victim

21 March 2013

Protecting children from exploitation and abuse focus of INTERPOL meeting in Thailand

28 February 2013

Two new partners join Virtual Global Taskforce in effort to combat online child sexual exploitation

Yellow Notices

Search the INTERPOL database of missing persons, including minors.

Trafficking in human beings

Rescuing children from forced labour