More specialist units needed to investigate online child abuse – INTERPOL

INTERPOL has served as a unique and powerful cooperation platform to combat online child sexual exploitation, for more than 20 years.

Currently containing more than 4.3 million videos and images, INTERPOL’s International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) database enables investigators to make connections between victims, abusers, and locations from across all regions.

Through leads generated via ICSE, to date more than 30,000 victims have been identified around the world.

However, in addition to significant under-reporting of online child sexual exploitation and abuse cases, many countries do not have specialized units dedicated to this crime type, with others lacking necessary legislation to support investigations.

A Resolution endorsed by delegates at the 90th General Assembly highlights the urgent need for member countries to develop units and connect to and use the ICSE database to develop a stronger victim-centric process of identifying and safeguarding children.

“Each and every child should be protected from sexual exploitation and abuse, and from re-victimization after images have been shared online,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.

“Data sharing between law enforcement and across regions is essential. If information is not shared globally, victims around the world remain unidentified and their abusers avoid justice. Neither can be acceptable.

“INTERPOL remains unwavering in its commitment to assist member countries in their efforts to address child exploitation and related crimes. These are crime areas where silos cannot be created, whether by one agency, or one region. There is too much at stake,” concluded Secretary General Stock.

Currently 68 member countries are connected to the ICSE database. Greater participation will result in more victim identifications by linking parallel enquiries and avoiding duplication of efforts in investigating material related to already solved cases.


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