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World - Americas

UNESCO launches campaign to fight Internet pedophilia

June 15, 1999
Web posted at: 9:02 p.m. EDT (0102 GMT)

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- A citizens' and communications industry action group sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on Tuesday launched a worldwide campaign to protect children from pedophiles on the Internet.

The World Citizen's Committee on Protecting Innocence in Danger, a group formed under the auspices of UNESCO, pledged to fight "the darker side of the Internet" -- child pornography and pedophiles' use of the Web, said Parry Aftab, chief of the group's U.S. National Action Committee.

Representatives of the Internet and communications industries, as well as educators, international law enforcement officials and human rights advocates have joined the newly formed group. They aim to adopt a plan of action for making the Internet safe for children without jeopardizing freedom of expression.

"Our role is to inform the public opinion and contribute to create a world observatory," said Homayra Sellier, president of Innocence in Danger. "North America and the Western world countries play a key role in the production, distribution and consumption of child pornography."

Film star Marisa Berenson, UNESCO's Goodwill Ambassador for Peace, will try to mobilize her business and entertainment contacts to fight child pornography.

"We have to find ways to protect our children and get the leaders to help us with that issue," she said.

Of 3.5 million Web sites, 23,000 have already been detected as advocating sex with children, Aftab said. Some 17 million children have access to the Internet at home, she added.

Innocence in Danger was formed as a follow up to the UNESCO-organized meeting "Sexual Abuse of Children, Child Pornography and Pedophilia on the Internet: An International Challenge," held in Geneva last January.

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United Nations Home Page
UNESCO home page - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
PEDOWATCH : Monitoring Pedophilia and Child Pornography on the Internet
Enough is Enough Home Page
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