Abu Dhabi summit calls for action on internet child abuse
December 12, 2012
VGT Alliance members, experts and crimefighters, in Abu Dhabil for a major summit on tackling online child abuse, call for accurate data on violations in a bid to combat the problem.
The need to educate children on the dangers of the internet was also highlighted.
According to leading thinkers on the issue, one of the main challenges facing authorities, police and agencies in the field is a lack of information, outside of the USA, UK and Canada, on rates of crimes against children online, the number of offenders and rates of offences reported.
Chair of the VGT (Virtual Global Taskforce) and deputy assistant director of America’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Ian Quinn, said: “The biggest challenge in fighting online crime is keeping up with the new platforms and the technologies being used by predators.
"The second is coming up with a responsible data retention policy that is suitable for all governments who have different data retention schemes.
“Over 70 per cent of tips received by the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, which is based in the USA, from internet service providers are international-related,” he added.
During the first day, lectures, workshops and presentations at the fifth VGT conference in Abu Dhabi tackled topics of how to fight online crimes against children.
Around 48 international experts, law enforcement officers and communications officials are set to take part in the summit over its three days.
Quinn also highlighted the need for educating children in online dangers.
He said: “It is vital that we teach our children how to handle the internet.
“Some parents may get too comfortable or naive and assume that their child is merely doing homework or chatting with friends on their home computer.
“Parents have to monitor their children and have conversations with them on the kinds of threats they face online. We have online tools through which parents can educate their children, such as the VGT websites.
Quinn also urged anyone suspecting exploitation of children to report the offence on the VGT website.
Dr Ethel Quayle, senior lecturer in clinical psychology at the University of Edinburgh and director of the Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe project, clarified that crimes against children online include downloading, sharing and trading abusive images of children. Predators can also attempt to make contact with children over the internet.
Lieutenant Colonel Faisal Mohammad Al Shamari, director of the Ministry of Interior Child Protection Centre, said the conference itself was a call to the cooperation and unity of all countries to work together against cyber sexual crimes against children.
“Social media such as Facebook and Twitter, press releases, advertisements and even official correspondents all carried an invitation to all embassies in the UAE, to encourage them to take place in the conference,” said Al Shamari.
The UAE is the only country in the Middle East to be a member of the VGT which was established in 2003 and is an international coalition between law enforcement agencies, NGOs and industries across the world in the fight to protect children against online crime.
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