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EU, US launch biggest ever global fight against online child sex abuse

Worldwide teamwork to tackle 1m vile images

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Some 48 countries have agreed to join forces to halt the spread of online child sex abuse videos and images.

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström will team up with US Attorney General Eric Holder to launch the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online at a conference held today in Brussels, Belgium.

The initiative, billed as the biggest of its kind, aims to combat the increase of child pornography on the internet. It is estimated one million child abuse images are available on the web and this figure is estimated to increase by 50,000 per year.

Ministers from 27 EU member states will join 21 countries outside the continent - Albania, Australia, Cambodia, Croatia, Georgia, Ghana, Japan, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, the Philippines, Serbia, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA and Vietnam - all backing the initiative, which aims to build international cooperation in the fight against the distribution of the vile imagery.

“This international initiative will strengthen our mutual resources to bring more perpetrators to justice, identify more victims of child sexual abuse, and ensure that they receive our help and support,” said Eric Holder. “Through this global alliance we can build on the success of previous cross-border police operations that have dismantled international paedophile networks and safeguard more of the world’s children.”

Child abusers exploit the dearth of information exchanged between nations' authorities and any legal loopholes available to operate freely, underlining the need for global cooperation to investigate and prosecute offenders.

As well as identifying victims, so as to find and protect them, and investigating incidents of child abuse, the scheme also aims to boost children's awareness of the risks posed by the web and those using it; kids will be told to take extra care with any photos they of themselves and to be wise to "grooming" methods used by paedophiles. ®

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