On 16 October 2002, we held our first forum on the issue of combating child pornography.
The Dublin Forum, which was hosted at the local office of the European Commission, sought to explore the extent of the problem, raise awareness, and create a worldwide action plan to combat child pornography. Going in, we recognized that the international community faced two central issues:
- The problem of child pornography within the more general context of pornography on the Internet: Children are not only being victimized through the production of child pornography but also by exposure to a wide array of offensive images readily available on the Internet.
- The international nature of child pornography: Geographical boundaries no longer matter. Adults with a sexual interest in children can communicate with others who share that interest, largely without regard to consequences.
Out of the discussions on that day, participants identified political, global, structural, and policy issues that needed to be addressed. As a result, a 10-point action plan emerged: the Dublin Plan.
The Dublin Plan offered the first genuinely international approach to taking on the problem of child pornography. It laid the groundwork for concerted action among those committed to fighting the scourge, based on ten action items:
- Building public awareness;
- Demanding that child pornography be placed high on the political agenda;
- Creating an international child pornography monitoring and oversight system;
- Undertaking research to define and measure the extent of the problem;
- Examining and evaluating best practices in dealing with the problem;
- Developing and promoting systems for identifying victims;
- Developing and promoting model legislation along with consistency of law between nations;
- Enhancing law enforcement’s capacity to investigate child pornography;
- Promoting international sharing and coordination among law enforcement, Internet hotlines, the media, and others;
- Promoting stronger involvement by private-sector entities, including Internet service providers, NGOs, and others.