Creating A Global Agenda to Combat Child Pornography

Nov 03, 2003 | by
  • Description

Today our society is permeated with sexually explicit and graphic materials that are widely available in nearly every setting and through nearly every mode of communication -- print, audio, and video. The rapid growth in the availability of the Internet images during the last decade has posed additional challenges to the problem. Child pornography has become a genuine concern for parents, teachers, law enforcement, and policy makers worldwide. There are now at least 40,000 sex-oriented sites on the world wide web and probably thousands more. According to a US study, only 17 percent of youth and approximately 10 percent of parents could name a specific authority, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, CyberTipline, or an Internet Service Provider, to which they could make a report. The above indicates a clear need for complete and thorough examination of the problem and a call for potential solutions. In October 2002 the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) held its first forum on the issue of combating child pornography. The goal of the forum was to explore the extent of the problem of child pornography, raise the awareness of the child-pornography issue within the international community, and create a worldwide plan of action for ICMEC to combat this egregious matter. ICMEC convened a team of experts with knowledge and practical experience who are committed to fighting against child pornography. Our panel of experts focused on identifying gaps and fostering candid discussion about what needs to be changed on the political, legal, and social levels internationally. The participants unanimously concurred that the problem of child pornography is enormous and growing dramatically, fueled by the Internet. They agreed that despite aggressive efforts by law-enforcement leaders around the world, there are still too few specialists and inadequate resources. They also concluded that the proceeds of child pornography are being used for an increasing array of unlawful purposes. The report that follows is a synopsis of the forum's results, as well as a "Call to Action" to those who care about the world's children and protecting them from victimization. ICMEC is spearheading an international campaign known as "The Dublin Plan," a worldwide effort to attack this problem, improve laws, expand knowledge and resources, and enhance coordination among policy makers, law enforcement, and the public. Working together as advocates and professionals, we can improve our ability to protect victims and target offenders who prey upon children.