The Conference aims at fostering the best possible co-operation between governments, the Internet industry, police, educators, hotlines, NGOs, children charities, psychologists and financial investigators.
The diffusion of child sexual abuse images and the auctioning of trafficked women online are examples of how the Internet can lead to more victimization of vulnerable groups. Here, the Internet has made the commission of what might be termed ‘traditional’ crimes easier – or more widespread. Distribution of child sexual abuse and exploitation material is a criminal offence which was relatively well-contained prior to the Internet: it is now a widespread social harm. As more individuals access the Internet, the cyber criminal has a broader range of potential victims within reach.
This rapid development in the use of information technologies, in particular the internet, has given a new dimension to online child abuse and exploitation, creating an environment for its proliferation. Consumers (today most often in developed countries) purchase illegal materials via computer servers from sources sometimes based in other, less developed, States. This is of particular concern as online crime is an adjunct to offline violence and abuse suffered by children. Consumers unsatisfied by their online activities have also been known to travel to countries to abuse children.
Today, a large share of child sexual abuse and exploitation sites and images appear to be of a commercial nature, generating huge amounts of proceeds for organised crime syndicates. Such criminal activities highlight the significant importance of fostering the best possible cooperation between governments, the Internet industry, police, educators, hotlines, NGOs, children’s charities, psychologists and financial investigators. This is needed due to the complexity of such investigations, which can be time consuming because they are often coordinated across jurisdictions and target networks of offenders using varying levels of security. It is also important to try to rein in the predators before, and not after, the act, by working with the major Internet, computer and mobile phone