Target: Mireille Ballestrazzi, President of Interpol
Goal: Stop online child abuse around the world
According to a U.S. watchdog group, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), there has been a dramatic rise in child abuse images posted to commonly used areas of the Internet. But this isn’t just a problem in the United States. Legal authorities in the U.K. recently arrested 660 people in one week for their connections to online child abuse. Although some of these images are posted on the so-called “dark net,” which is hidden from public view and difficult to access without special software, many of these photos are being posted to public social media networks lately.
Electronic communication providers in the U.S. report instances of child abuse on their networks to the NCMEC’s cyber tip line. For a recent one-week period, at least 92,800 reports were made to the tip line. Although you might not expect to see sexual images of children on Pinterest or LinkedIn, John Shehan, NCMEC Executive Director, says it is happening more often.
“If you look at where the content is being uploaded from – sometimes we see that it goes back to third-world countries,” Shehan explained to BBC News. “Some of these are just starting to get high-speed internet access, and they may not be as sophisticated as some countries in using different anonymisers.”
Sign the below petition to urge other countries to implement cyber tip lines for communications companies and the public to report online child abuse. Although this is a large-scale issue that isn’t going to be quickly solved by making arrests, tip lines have proven successful in leading police to the sources of online child abuse.
Dear President Ballestrazzi,
Online child abuse is a growing problem in the U.S., the U.K. and around the world. During the first week of July 2014, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received a record number of abuse reports – four times the weekly average. At least 660 people connected with online child abuse were arrested in the U.K. this same week. Although online child abuse used to be hidden in more inaccessible areas of the Internet, offensive material has been appearing in social media networks lately, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
I am urging you to work with national governments and organizations, including NCMEC in the U.S. and the National Crime Agency in the U.K., to establish cyber tip lines and other reporting tools to stop online child abuse. Thank you for doing your part to protect the world’s children.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Sapphireasa via WikiMedia Commons