SINGAPORE – International child protection experts gathered in Singapore this week to identify measures to encourage and support law enforcement worldwide in identifying victims of child sexual abuse.
This was among the issues deliberated by the INTERPOL Specialists Group on Crimes Against Children, which meets on an annual basis to review the latest advances in global efforts to tackle online child sexual abuse, identify the young victims and prevent the spread of abuse materials.
The four-day (26 – 29 November) meeting brought together 216 participants from 50 countries, regional and international organizations, the private sector and academia. Discussions during the meeting were focused around four key themes:
- Internet-facilitated crimes against children;
- Child victim identification;
- Sex offender management;
- Serious and violent crimes against children.
With a particular focus on supporting police in developing regions to combat online child sexual abuse and protect the victims from further harm, the participants discussed the new INTERPOL Victim Identification Task Force for Asia which will hold its first meeting next month in Singapore, and began an assessment of the current situation in Africa in order to chart a course for future action.
INTERPOL Director of Organized and Emerging Crime, Paul Stanfield said: “While identifying victims depicted in child abuse images and videos will always be at the core of what INTERPOL does, we must also take into account new technologies, new victim populations and new geographic regions of risk. Our aim is to safeguard the most vulnerable from the most dangerous.”
Other topics reviewed during the meeting included prevention methods, the use of mobile devices in crimes against children, legislation regarding traveling sex offenders, and enhancements to the INTERPOL International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) database which currently contains more than 440,000 images and videos. Case studies highlighted the successes countries have had in tackling crimes against children.
During the conference, dedicated regional workshops allowed participants to focus on the unique challenges present in each part of the world.
Since its creation in 1992, the INTERPOL Specialists Group on Crimes Against Children has played a key role in the global development of victim identification in child abuse image investigations, through its active role in capacity building and raising the investigative standards of the law enforcement response to child abuse worldwide.