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A Twist to the Cross Border Trafficking

September 1, 1999 · 

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Published in Child Workers of Asia
(April – September 1999)

Internet ‘being used to prop paedophilia’
Agence France-presse The Nation, Wednessday, March 25, 1998

MANILA – The world’s police forces are floundering as transcontinental operators peddle impoverished third children via cyberspace in the fast global-trading environment, experts said yesterday.

Groups are “subverting” the Internet to traffick women and children, and ease of travel has enabled paedophiles tomove from one country to another, experts said on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific conferenceon crime held in Manila.

Before the advent of cyberspace, organisations used to operate bymail or advertise sex with chidlren in the newspaper. “But recently they found the Internet. So they have their little chat rooms where each can go to ,” said Paul Higdon, director of Interpol’s liaison and criminal intelligence directorate, based in Lyon, France. “It’s a coded area within the Internet, and they can tak and exchange…” But policing the Internet is very difficult , he said.

“We’re trying to get a handle on that now. We.re trying to understand better how these people operate. We’re in touch with local-area providers… getting help from them…,” he said.

Higdon said the frequency of air travel had also allowed paedophiles to go from one country to another.

“On a transnational nature, by the very virtue of airplane travel, it’s so easy now to cross borders that frequently,” he said.

“In th light of that, where crimes used to be committed at a national level, now you have crimes being committed across borders very frequently , and paedophilia is certainly of those crimes, he added.

But he said “there’s a lot of people from the more developed countries gong to the less developed countries because of the economic situation” and ” there are countries where parents even sell their children to paedophilia groups.”

Dealing with groups engaged in the trafficking of women and children is just like handling other crime gangs, Higdon said, noting successful prosecution of suspects rested on evidence gathered by an extensive intelligence network.

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