U.S., European officials to launch global effort against online child sexual abuse

Attorney General Eric Holder made a statement Thursday after the House cited him for contempt of Congress.

Story highlights

  • The initiative will be called the Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online
  • 27 European Union member states and 22 non-EU states are involved
  • Participating nations pledge to pursue several goals
  • Goals include enhancing efforts to investigate online abuse cases and prosecute offenders

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom will launch a new effort to fight child sexual abuse at a ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday.

"The initiative aims to unite decision-makers all around the world to better identify and assist victims and to prosecute the perpetrators," the Justice Department said in a press release.

The initiative will be called the Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online.

Participating nations pledge to pursue several goals, including enhancing efforts to investigate online abuse cases and prosecute offenders, improve efforts to identity victimized children and give them protection and other assistance, and make children more aware of online risks. Countries also want to reduce the availability of online child-abuse materials.

Representatives from 27 European Union member states will participate in the global initiative. Twenty-two non-EU countries also are involved including the United States, Canada, Australia, Albania, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea, Turkey, Ukraine and Nigeria.

As an example of what can be achieved by international law enforcement cooperation, the Justice Department pointed to "Operation Delego" which was announced last year and was the largest U.S. prosecution of an international criminal organization that sexually exploited children.

The case involved people who participated in a private, members-only online bulletin board known as Dreamboard that encouraged the sexual abuse of young children.

According to the Justice Department, Operation Delego led to charges against 72 defendants, and more than 500 people were targeted for investigation by law enforcement authorities overseas.

Report: Thousands of children face sex abuse by gangs in England

      CNN Recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.