November 03, 2005

US, EU unite in child protection efforts

This is most excellent news: US/European Leaders Unite to Protect Children From Predators.

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Top officials from the U.S. and 21 other countries adopted an aggressive 17-point action plan to eliminate commercial child pornography worldwide by 2008; establish new national centers in Europe patterned after the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the U.S. and Child Focus in Belgium; create a universal three-digit phone number for reporting missing children; establish an expanded database of convicted pedophiles; and develop a system to track child traffickers across borders.

The action plan was adopted last week by the attendees at the first U.S./European Summit on Missing and Exploited Children held in Buonas, Switzerland. The meeting, sponsored by the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in partnership with Child Focus, was hosted by Swiss healthcare company, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.

Margarida Barroso, wife of the President of the European Commission, said, "More than ever, Americans and Europeans must stay close together in the defense of the most vulnerable. But the task is so urgent and so immense that all actors must mobilize." She added, "The good news is that we already have the appropriate framework. The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children has already united Europeans and Americans in common action."

Juan Miguel Petit, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, said "Our challenge is to reach the problems before the problems reach us ... we need resources and political will from governments and international organizations, but we also need a map, a plan, to show that we not only have sensitivity and good will, but the capacity of developing strong action."

John Walsh, co-founder of NCMEC, host of "America's Most Wanted," and father of an abducted and murdered child, said, " ... 24 years ago, there was nothing. I never dreamed that a meeting like this was possible, or that we could unite to help children everywhere." Walsh was joined by other victim parents, including Michel Bruyere of Belgium and Colleen Nick of the U.S. Participants in the Summit included government leaders, non-governmental organizations, business executives, law enforcement officials, judges, prosecutors, researchers and physicians. Among the organizations represented were the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the United Nations.

Click here and scroll down a bit to read the 17-point action plan.

Posted by Kyer at November 3, 2005 07:37 PM | TrackBack