Council backs “global alliance” against child sexual abuse online
By Nathalie Vandystadt in Luxembourg | Wednesday 13 June 2012
To combat the cross-border phenomenon of child pornography and other sexual exploitation of children on the internet, the Union’s 27 home affairs ministers approved, on 7 June in Luxembourg, the principle of a ‘global alliance against child sexual abuse online’ as proposed by the European Commission. To start, this international alliance will be sealed by the Danish EU Presidency, on behalf of the 27, with the United States, at an EU-US ministerial meeting, on 20-21 June in Copenhagen.
According to the Home Affairs Council conclusions, the objectives of this alliance should include:
1. Enhancing efforts to identify victims and ensuring their assistance, support and protection;
2. Reducing as much as possible the availability of child pornography online, inter alia by facilitating measures to remove or, where appropriate, block websites containing child pornography, and reducing as much as possible the re-victimisation of children whose sexual abuse is depicted in child pornography;
3. Enhancing efforts to investigate cases of child sexual abuse online and to identify and prosecute offenders; and
4. Enhancing efforts to increase awareness of the risks posed by children’s activities online, including grooming and self-production of images that can result in the production of new child pornography that may be distributed online.
On the other hand, there is no express mention of the role of internet operators and service providers. Self-regulation is the rule for now at EU level. On 2 May, the European Commission presented a new non-binding ‘Strategy for a better internet for children’ directed at member states and above all the industry. It has nevertheless not ruled out the idea of presenting regulatory initiatives at some future date (see