Media Release: Worldwide forces unite to combat online child sexual exploitation
Release Date: Thursday, December 02 2010, 06:00 AM
Today almost 240 delegates from across the world with a common interest in combating online child sexual exploitation are converging on Darling Harbour, Sydney, for the fourth biannual Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) Conference.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP), in conjunction with the VGT, is hosting the two day conference which has attracted international representatives from law enforcement, academia, the private sector, and government and non-government organisations (NGOs). This is the first time the conference has been held in Australia.
AFP Commissioner Tony Negus said the conference, which will be opened by Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor MP, will enhance opportunities for developing strong international alliances to tackle online child sexual exploitation and related contact offending on a global scale.
‘This high-calibre international event offers a global platform for delegates to join forces, share expertise, skills, and resources and develop and strengthen alliances worldwide,’ Commissioner Negus said.
‘Online child sexual exploitation is a brutal crime and no form of it will be tolerated anywhere in the world’.
‘This conference offers the perfect opportunity for collaboration across borders and across the digital divide’.
The theme of the conference is ‘Global Child Protection in Tomorrow’s Virtual World’. AFP National Manager of High Tech Crime Operations and VGT Chair Neil Gaughan said that the conference will focus on innovative approaches to tackling online child sexual exploitation on a global scale.
‘The growth of the internet has attributed to the growth of online crime, including an increase in prevalence and severity of child abuse images. Over the next two days we will open the dialogue on challenges which are faced in the virtual world, and look at new and innovative approaches to deterring and preventing internet -facilitated child sexual exploitation,’ Assistant Commissioner Gaughan said.
‘The outcomes of this conference will guide the future of policing online child sexual exploitation crime worldwide.’
The conference will include: workshops and panel sessions on the key challenges in the online realm; emerging trends such as digital social networking being used to exploit children; new technologies, including the Microsoft United States developed Child Exploitation Tracking System; prevention through education strategies; and international legal governance.
The conference will also include a hypothetical panel session facilitated by Mr Geoffrey Robertson QC, and panelled by high-profile representatives from international law enforcement, social networking, Telstra, media, NGOs, and the judicial sector. Also on the panel will be the Hon Robert McClelland MP Attorney General. The session will challenge the panellists to address a hypothetical scenario relating to global online protection of children and the threat posed to children by travelling sex offenders.
Microsoft, Fujitsu and Telstra have stepped forward to support the event which will bring together delegates travelling from more than 23 countries including South Africa, Germany, Brazil, Malaysia, Iran, and Vietnam and include some 50 distinct agencies.
The VGT was established in 2003 to combat the increasingly prevalent crime of online child sexual abuse. In December last year, the AFP assumed the role of VGT Chair and Secretariat for a three-year period. Since its creation, VGT operations have resulted in many suspects being arrested worldwide and dozens of children being safeguarded.
Through joint collaboration between VGT partners in six countries, the VGT recently dismantled more than 200 commercial child abuse websites under the control of one criminal organisation. Operation Basket is the most sophisticated international investigation to destroy a network of commercial child sexual exploitation websites.
Who: Media are invited to attend the VGT Conference opening address by Minister for Home Affairs, the Honourable Brendan O’Connor MP and AFP Commissioner Tony Negus followed by a media doorstop. The afternoon wrap-up session on day two by the eight VGT senior board members will also be open to media
When: 8.30am – 10am Thursday 2 December. Media not attending the opening are requested to arrive no later than 9.15am.
3.00 – 5.00pm Friday 3 December. Media are requested to arrive no later than 2.50pm.
Where: Conference Registration Desk, Bayside Level 2, Sydney Exhibition and Conference Centre, Darling Drive, Darling Harbour, Sydney
Note: The remainder of the conference will be closed to media. Video footage, photographs, selected presentations, speeches and interviews with VGT Board members and presenters are available on request.
For more information and for a detailed program of the VGT Conference, visit www.vgtconference2010.com
AFP National Media ph: +61 2 6131 6333 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org