NEWS: UNESCO Conf: Photos of Abused Kids End Up on Web

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Subject: NEWS: UNESCO Conf: Photos of Abused Kids End Up on Web
From: Jyothi Kanics (jkanics@igc.apc.org)
Date: Thu Jan 21 1999 - 17:57:57 EST


Monday January 18 6:57 PM ET

Photos of Abused Kids End Up on Web

By MARILYN AUGUST Associated Press Writer

PARIS (AP) - The number of sexually abused children has risen to
emergency levels, and photos of them are finding their way increasingly on to
computer screens, experts said Monday at a U.N. conference on pedophilia
and the Internet.

``The development of pedophilia on the Internet constitutes a
`cybercrime,''' said Federico Mayor,
director general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Speaking to 300 experts from 40 countries, Mayor called for a ``global
electronic watchdog
network'' to combat on-line pedophilia and child prostitution.

Experts say there is insufficient data on the number of abused children,
especially since the
definition of such abuse varies widely from country to country.

``We estimate that the number is at an emergency level - especially since
there's a tragic lack of
protection available to children at risk,'' said Kimberly Svevo, executive
director of the
Chicago-based International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Svevo cited poverty, war, natural disasters and soaring populations among
the forces making
children vulnerable to prostitution and sexual slavery in developing nations.

Earlier Monday, the International Labor Office outlined plans for an accord
to help keep child
pornography and other forms of child sexual abuse off the Internet.

ILO director general Michel Hansenne told the two-day conference that the
measures, expected to
be passed at the agency's annual meeting in June, would ban the sale and
trafficking of children
over the Internet, as well as the use of children for on-line prostitution
or production of
pornographic material.

INTERPOL's Agnes Fournier-Saint Maur, who heads the international police
organization's special
commission on crimes against minors, said it was virtually impossible to
determine the number of
Web sites providing materials for adults who prey on children, or to know
how many pedophiles
access the Internet.

But she said studies in the United States in 1995 documented one million
on-line pornographic
images involving children.

``Some of the sites received several thousand hits daily,'' she said, adding
that 500,000 such
images were seized in 1998.

With today's sophisticated technology, pedophiles can even ask for specific
live sex scenes,
including rape and torture, from the privacy of their homes, she said.

Daniel Kahn, a French expert on Internet law, said many Web sites provide
materials that are legal
in the countries where they are created - places that also often lack laws
protecting children against
kidnapping for sexual exploitation.


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