Safeguarding children from harm: a priority for global experts

14 November 2019
The INTERPOL Specialists Group on Crimes Against Children meeting gathers in Lyon

LYON, France – With the development of the Internet and technology providing more opportunities to exploit the vulnerable, international experts are gathering to develop a holistic approach to curbing crimes against children.

The four-day (12-15 November) INTERPOL Specialists Group on Crimes Against Children meeting will provide an overview of global efforts and technical solutions for combating crimes such as sexual abuse and exploitation, abduction and other forms of violence against children.


Some 250 participants from 70 countries, regional and international organizations, the private sector, NGOs and academia will share case studies of successful investigations, national initiatives and campaigns, as well as victim protection mechanisms.

Sharing best practices across countries and sectors is vital to keeping up with the modus operandi of offenders, who continually seek to exploit children while benefitting from the anonymity of the online environment and the new applications and platforms it provides.

Harold O’Connell, Acting INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services
Harold O’Connell, Acting INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services

Opening the conference, INTERPOL’s Acting Executive Director of Police Services, Harold O’Connell, recognized the diversity of the global audience, and highlighted the valuable participation of the non-profit sector and industry.

“Your collective commitment to safeguarding children is an admirable model of ‘shared responsibility’. When considering the challenges we face in protecting children and bringing offenders to justice, such strong partnerships are vital,” he said.

One of the key priorities for the Specialists Group is to combat child sexual exploitation by identifying victims in the millions of images and videos currently circulating online, with a view to removing them from harm and bringing their abusers to justice.

Key to these efforts is INTERPOL’s Child Sexual Exploitation Database (ICSE), which, thanks to its global network of specialized officers, has contributed to the documentation and identification of more than 20,700 victims and 9,400 offenders.”

With INTERPOL’s Victim Identification Laboratory operating throughout the Specialists Group meeting, delegates have had the opportunity to work with Interpol’s Specialist Officers to identify and progress new investigative leads and solve cases.

The final two days of the conference will be dedicated to smaller, more interactive workshops where participants can focus on specific topics, challenges and regional trends.