LYON, France, Dec. 1, 2003 — In an effort to support the international community’s heightened endeavor to address the growing problem of child safety on the Internet, the International Center for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC, http://www.icmec.org/ ), Interpol ( http://www.interpol.int/ ) and Microsoft Corp. ( http://www.microsoft.com/ ) today launched an international training program for worldwide law enforcement who investigate computer-facilitated crimes against children. ICMEC plans to conduct eight to 10 intensive training programs per year around the globe, the first of which begins today and runs through Dec. 4 in Lyon, France.
The ICMEC training conference is being hosted by and conducted at the headquarters of 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 36 countries are expected to attend the training conference: Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Cote d’Ivoire (formerly Ivory Coast), Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Macedonia, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States.
“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. “I hope that in future we can expand this sort of program to other regions of the world.”
“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 ICMEC and one of the organizers of the conference. “One of this organization’s mandates is to bring to law enforcement the tools necessary to assist them in their investigations of crimes being perpetrated against our world’s children. This course is designed to aid law enforcement in the development of those skills and knowledge necessary to address this type of crime. ICMEC, with the sponsorship of Microsoft, is delighted to have the opportunity to help in this very important endeavor.”
“Helping secure cyberspace cannot be done alone,” said Hemanshu Nigam, Microsoft corporate attorney and co-chair of Microsoft’s Children’s CyberSafety Council. “Internet-based crimes against children have expanded worldwide and must be addressed through government and private partnerships. We’re pleased to assist Interpol and ICMEC in the effort to improve laws, increase public awareness and protect children from further exploitation online.”
“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,” added Pam Portin, MSN policy director and co-chair of Microsoft’s Children’s CyberSafety Council. “At the same time, we continue to improve our products and services to help parents and children have a safer online experience.”
Partnership Program With Law Enforcement
The ICMEC training program beginning today 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://w www.icmec.org/ . The ICMEC training program will begin the process of equipping 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 will 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 ICMEC to exchange reports and facilitate an international dialogue.
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