WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder and European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström will launch a global alliance targeting online child sexual abuse, building on the success of cross-border police operations that have dismantled international pedophile networks.
Officials from 27 EU member nations will participate in a ministerial conference Wednesday in Brussels, along with officials from 22 countries outside the EU, including the United States.
The participating nations are making a commitment to caring for victims, enhancing efforts to prosecute offenders, increasing children's awareness of online risks and reducing the availability of child abuse material online.
Representatives from outside the EU include Albania, Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Croatia, Georgia, Ghana, Japan, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, the Philippines, Serbia, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam.
Last year, a U.S.-led law enforcement operation charged 72 defendants in the U.S. and targeted more than 500 people for investigation overseas in the largest U.S. prosecution of an international criminal network organized to sexually exploit children. The participants allegedly belonged to Dreamboard, a private, members-only online bulletin board to promote pedophilia and encourage sexual abuse of very young children.
In an initiative called Project Safe Childhood, the Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section trains prosecutors in U.S. Attorneys offices around the United States to help assemble criminal cases against perpetrators of child sexual abuse.