Microsoft Joins Child Safety Advocates, Law Enforcement for Fourth Global Law Enforcement Training in Paarl, South Africa

PAARL, South Africa, Sept. 6, 2004 — To address the growing problem of children’s safety on the Internet around the world, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, Interpol and Microsoft Corp. continue their series of international training programs for law enforcement personnel who investigate computer-facilitated crimes against children this week in Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa.

The training conference, which begins Sept. 6 and runs through Sept. 9, brings together 73 worldwide law enforcement representatives from 12 countries 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 Botswana, France, Ghana, Italy, Lesotho, Qatar, South Africa, Spain, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are meeting in Paarl this week

The fourth in the series of international law enforcement trainings follows successful sessions held in France, Brazil and Costa Rica earlier this year with more than 300 law enforcement officials representing 100 countries having participated in the training. The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children plans to conduct eight intensive training programs per year around the world.

“Child exploitation online is a complex and increasing social problem,” said Sheila C. Johnson, a board member of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children. “To combat global networks of child pornographers, we must all become a global network of child protectors.”

“This type of criminal activity is an international issue transcending borders and jurisdictions,” said John Stamnes, crime intelligence officer at Interpol, who will conduct some of the training. “This course is designed to aid law enforcement all over the world in the development of skills and knowledge necessary to address this type of crime.”

“The use of the Internet to facilitate crimes against children is an increasing problem around the world and one that is best addressed with the collaboration of government, law enforcement and the private sector,” said Pam Portin, director of children’s online child safety at Microsoft. “Microsoft’s role in the training conference is one of many approaches the company is taking to help ensure safety on the Internet. We’re pleased to assist organizations like Interpol and the International Centre in the effort to increase public awareness and expand on the range of technology-based tools available to law enforcement.”

Stamnes, Johnson and Portin will join media representatives, commissioners of police, South Africa’s National Prosecutions Agency and members of civil society at a community round table on the issue of children’s online safety Thursday, Sept. 9, in Cape Town.

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