I’ve talked in the past about identifying victims of abuse world wide and the difficulties inherent to agencies in that task. The International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) image database is a global sharing mechanism between law enforcement agencies managed by INTERPOL and funded by the European commission.
Since its inception it has contributed towards identifying 3,000 victims from 40 countries and catching 1,900 offenders.
We know, and I’ve written much about this before, that analysis of the virtual world helps investigations in the physical world and that analysis is so important to the whole cause of child protection.
I do understand that huge investment is needed and that victim identification specialists have one of the most difficult jobs in the field.
I hear that there is new funding from the European Commission and increasing support from the private sector for the Virtual Global Task Force (VGTF) in developing cutting edge technology and training experts.
But we all know that there are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of victims of child sexual abuse world wide. Many of whom end up documented by their abusers on video or digital imagery to be shared or sold. Therefore INTERPOL’s new project, to be launched in 2015, of a next generation database with improved video analysis tools can’t come too soon.
I believe that Belgian, Dutch and Icelandic police are partners in this development – although all forces around the world are playing their part. We have to thank many private research and development companies for lending their support as well.
At last the identification of victims is gaining more momentum but it’s only a fraction of what is needed.
Let us hope that this initiative, which I believe is as important as catching perpetrators, can grow and attract the most sophisticated tools that law enforcement can develop.