SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ – In an effort to support the international community’s heightened endeavor to address the growing problem of child safety on the Internet, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (International Centre), INTERPOL (http://www.interpol.int/) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) (http://www.microsoft.com/) today began their second international training program for worldwide law enforcement personnel who investigate computer-facilitated crimes against children. The International Centre plans to conduct eight to 10 intensive training programs per year around the globe. This, the second such training session, begins today and runs through Feb. 26 in San Jose, Costa Rica. The first training session involved representatives of 33 countries and took place in Lyon, France, in December.
The International Centre’s training conference is supported by Interpol, an international police organization with 181 member countries. Titled Conference on Computer-Facilitated Crimes Against Children, the conference brings together worldwide law enforcement representatives for four days of extensive training on investigating online child predators, collecting evidence and computer forensic information, and seeking private industry assistance in child exploitation investigations.
Representatives from nearly a dozen countries are expected to attend the training conference, including Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama and The Bahamas.
“Child exploitation online is a complex and increasing social problem. In order to solve it, the commitment of governments, private sector, nongovernmental organizations and the civil society is required,” said Rosalia Gil, minister of childhood for Costa Rica. “This event is a joint effort of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, Microsoft, INTERPOL and governments, where each party actively cooperates in the implementation of policies and actions to avoid and fight against those who exploit our children for their own aims.”
“This an excellent example of how INTERPOL, a nongovernmental organization and private enterprise, can work together to provide law enforcement officers with techniques that will help them better combat criminal use of the Internet by people who have a sexual interest in children, and particularly the exchange of images of child abuse,” said Hamish McCulloch, Interpol’s assistant director, Trafficking in Human Beings. “The success of the International Centre’s International Training Initiative in Lyon, France, in December 2003 led to this one in Costa Rica. With the continued support from Microsoft, Interpol looks forward to future training sessions and the results they will bring.”
“This type of criminal activity is an international issue transcending borders and jurisdictions,” said Ruben Rodriguez, director of Domestic and International Law Enforcement Affairs at the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children and one of the organizers of the conference. “This course is designed to aid law enforcement from all parts of the world in the development of the skills and knowledge necessary to address this type of crime. The International Centre, with the important contributions from Microsoft, is delighted to have the opportunity to help in this very important endeavor.”
“The use of the Internet to facilitate the commission of crimes against children is an increasing problem around the world and one that is best addressed through government and private partnerships,” said Juan Carlos Guzman, Microsoft senior attorney. “We’re pleased to assist Interpol and the International Centre in the effort to increase public awareness and expand on the range of tools available to law enforcement to investigate these crimes and protect children from further exploitation online. Helping secure cyberspace cannot be done alone. Microsoft recognizes that the international Internet community needs more government and industry partnerships like this one and is pleased to share technical knowledge and resources.”
Partnership Program With Law Enforcement
The International Centre’s training program is a critical component of a comprehensive international action agenda originally established at the first Global Forum on Child Pornography in Dublin, Ireland, at the offices of the European Parliament on Oct. 16, 2002. As part of the forum, the group established a 10-point plan for addressing the problem internationally, the details of which can be found at http://www.icmec.org/ . The International Centre’s training program equips law enforcement representatives from around the world with the tools they need to investigate and apprehend criminals who use the Internet to perpetrate crimes against children. Trainees learn technical investigative techniques, forensic skills and how to psychologically assess predators.
Microsoft’s role in the training conference is one of many approaches the company is taking to help ensure safety on the Internet. The company recently provided financial support to a conference conducted by INHOPE in Berlin, called “The Internet in 2004: Safe or Just Safer?” INHOPE is the coordinating body for the Association of Internet Hotline Providers in Europe and is funded under the EU Safer Internet program. INHOPE works closely with the International Centre to exchange reports and facilitate an international dialogue.
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