September 29, 2014

Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, TD is attending the second Ministerial conference of the Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online, taking place in Washington DC on 29-30 September 2014. The conference is jointly hosted by the US Attorney General Eric Holder, and the EU Home Affairs Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström.

The conference will feature presentations from law enforcement, child protection and communications technology experts on the growing harm caused by child pornography and online sexual abuse, and the measures being taken to combat it. Minister Fitzgerald will highlight An Garda Síochána's close engagement with Interpol, Europol and other international partners to tackle online child sexual abuse, as well as how Ireland is raising awareness of the risks posed by children's activities online.

At the conclusion of the conference it is anticipated that members of the Global Alliance will sign a Declaration committing to further address the barriers to combatting child sexual abuse online. This builds on the original Global Alliance Declaration which set out shared policy targets and operational goals in the area of victim support, investigation efforts, public awareness, and reducing the availability of child pornography online.

During the course of her visit to Washington DC, Minister Fitzgerald is also meeting with Ambassador Luis CdeBaca of the US Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons as well as attending briefings from the FBI and Europol on EU-US cooperation in relation to drug trafficking, organised crime, human trafficking, and cybercrime. She has also met with Washington DC Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier and senior staff for briefings and discussions on mobile patrol technology and civilianisation within the Washington DC police.

Minister Fitzgerald said :

" Child sexual abuse online is one of the greatest evils facing the modern world. The internet knows no borders which is why determined international action of this kind is so vital. Ireland, in cooperation with its international partners, will do all it can to keep children safe."


Note for Editors

In December 2012, AG Holder and Commissioner Malmström announced the creation of a Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse. The aim of the Global Alliance is to seek commitments from countries around the world to take an active part in the fight against child sexual abuse online. The members of the Alliance (the EU 28 + 25 other States) have committed themselves to meeting the following four policy targets:

· Enhancing efforts to investigate cases of child sexual abuse online and to identify and prosecute offenders;

· Reducing the availability of child abuse material online and the re-victimisation of children;

· Enhancing efforts to identify victims and ensuring that they receive the necessary assistance, support and protection; and

· Increasing public awareness of online risks to children.

At the conclusion of this second Ministerial conference it is envisaged that Ministers will endorse a declaration aimed at stepping up efforts to address cross border obstacles in the fight against child sexual abuse online, including with respect to international cooperation in relation to law enforcement, gathering evidence, and protection for victims.