ALEXANDRIA, VA – In most households spending time on the Internet is a regular daily activity. While the Internet enables immediate access to virtually unlimited resources for school, work and entertainment, it also poses a potential danger for children. To help combat this growing problem, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and it sister organization, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) have joined law enforcement agencies from around the world to become private sector partners of the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) to fight online child sexual abuse.
As a partner of VGT, NCMEC will provide operational support to law enforcement in each VGT country including making CyberTipline referrals available to VGT countries and will assist with victim identification in the U.S. NCMEC will also continue to play a critical role in the U.S. by assisting VGT law enforcement agencies to identify child victims depicted in sexually abusive images.
“Online child sexual exploitation transcends national borders and requires a coordinated global response, “said Ernie Allen, President of NCMEC. “That is why we are proud to become a partner of the VGT alliance, and commit our energy and support to these global law enforcement leaders.”
The VGT has three primary objectives:
- To make the Internet a safer place;
- To identify, locate and help children at risk;
- To prosecute perpetrators of child sexual exploitation crimes.
Chair of the VGT, Neil Gaughan, said “The VGT recognizes that the fight against online child sexual exploitation can not be undertaken by law enforcement alone.”
The Virtual Global Taskforce was created in 2003 as a response to lessons learned from global investigations into online child sexual abuse. The VGT provides an important network for the international law enforcement community. Other members of the VGT include the Australian Federal Police, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the UK; the Italian Postal and Communication Police Service; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; the US Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; INTERPOL; the Ministry of Interior for the United Arab Emirates, the New Zealand Police and Europol.
The VGT also provides information and support to adults and children on how to stay safe online which can be found at www.virtualglobaltaskforce.com.