ROME, Italy – INTERPOL has launched the Victim Identification Laboratory, a global mobile investigative tool to assist in identifying and rescuing the victims of child sexual abuse, following an agreement with Canada.
The laboratory is a mobile application which can be deployed at conferences, training courses and other law enforcement-related gatherings, enabling investigators to share appropriately sanitized child sexual abuse images from ongoing and unsolved investigations with the widest possible audience.
A duplicate of the System for Advancing Victim identification Efforts (SAVE) developed by the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the software and hardware for the laboratory has been donated to INTERPOL by Canada.
Signing the agreement on the sidelines of the INTERPOL General Assembly in Rome, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said: “I am proud to present the RCMP-developed Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children’s Victim Identification Laboratory to our international policing partners here at the INTERPOL General Assembly.
“The work accomplished by our technical staff at CPCMEC showcases the RCMP’s lead role in combating child exploitation on the global stage and assists officers in making breakthroughs in identifying victims and protecting the most vulnerable members of our society: our children,” added Commissioner Paulson.
The lab will be run by INTERPOL’s Crimes Against Children (CAC) team, which encourages member countries to take a victim-centred approach to child abuse investigations.
“Canada’s generosity in making this tool available to INTERPOL and the global law enforcement community will have a significant impact,” said Secretary General Ronald K. Noble, who signed the agreement on behalf of the world police body.
“INTERPOL’s International Child Sexual Exploitation database has already assisted in the rescue of thousands of children around the world, and this new mobile Victim Identification Laboratory will be a valuable asset to investigators in solving these horrific crimes,” concluded the INTERPOL Chief.
“Every single child sexual abuse image is not just a photo available on the Internet, it is evidence of the permanent serious physical and emotional harm suffered by an innocent boy or girl, which is why it is vital for victims to be identified as quickly as possible,” said Mick Moran, Assistant Director of INTERPOL’s Trafficking in Human Beings unit which encompasses the CAC team.
Child sexual abuse material from unsolved international cases in INTERPOL’s ICSE database is uploaded to the lab, with editing tools that enable viewers to manipulate the image to focus on different areas.
Viewers can leave comments on the images and elements that could potentially help investigators identify the location where the material was produced, or to identify objects in the images such as a child’s toy, a building, a piece of furniture which may be unrecognizable to the investigator, but could be a landmark or a well-known item to someone from another country or region of the world.