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June 12-13 - Violence Against Children Meeting

ECPAT - End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes

PRESS RELEASE

International experts meet in Thailand June 12 & 13 on combating Violence against Children in Cyberspace

BANGKOK- Experts from East Asia, Europe and the UK, and North and South America will meet in Bangkok, Thailand, this weekend (12-13 June, 2005) to discuss violence against children in cyberspace and virtual settings and effective measures to combat and prevent it.

The experts meeting is being hosted by child rights group ECPAT International, which is coordinating research and advice on cyber-violence for the UN Secretary-General's global Study on Violence against Children.

International experts attending the meeting include: member of the UN Study's NGO advisory group Dr Elizabeth Protacio-de Castro of the University of the Philippines, Interpol's assistant director for human trafficking Hamish McCulloch, bullying.org president Bill Belsey of Canada, Dr Ethel Quayle of the COPINE Project and University College Ireland, and child pornography legal reform advocate Junko Miyamoto of ECPAT-STOP Japan. [*A full list of experts and biographies is attached below.]

ECPAT International executive director Carmen Madriñán says the experts will bring together the latest knowledge on forms of violence against children in cyberspace, virtual settings and through new technologies. These include:

* Internet child pornography, virtual imagery such as 'morphing' and manga drawings, and other depictions of child sexual abuse

* Stalking and bullying through the Internet and mobile phones

* Children's interactions in virtual settings such as chat rooms and online gaming

* How to prevent dangers posed by new technologies, such as mobile phones with Internet browsing capabilities

* The physical and psychological effects on children of cyber-violence

Ms Madriñán says the experts meeting will also recommend effective measures to combat and prevent cyber violence against children, including corporate social responsibility in the IT industry, and the responsibilities of Governments to provide legal protection and law enforcement.

Some of the cyberspace experts will participate in the East Asia Pacific regional consultation on the UN Study on Violence against Children, 14-16 June, 2005 in Bangkok, Thailand.

- Ends -

For more information on:

ECPAT's study on Violence against Children in Cyberspace, go to: http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/violence_study.asp Violence against children on the Internet and in virtual settings, go to: http://www.make-IT-safe.net The East Asia Pacific regional consultation on the UN Study on Violence against Children, go to: http://www.ecpat.net/eng/EAP/index.asp

- Biographies of experts attending the ECPAT International meeting

* Denotes those who will stay on to attend the East Asia Pacific regional consultation on the UN Study on Violence against Children, 14-16 June, 2005, Bangkok, Thailand.

*Dolores Alforte: ECPAT Philippines

Dolores Alforte is Executive Director of ECPAT Philippines. Child pornography in the Philippines has been a major focus of her advocacy for reform of the Philippines' Child Protection Act.

Bill Belsey: bullying.org, Canada

Bill Belsey is president of bullying.org and first coined the term cyber bullying to describe peer harassment and bullying through the Internet and mobile phones. Mr Belsey is the Executive Director of iEARN-Canada, the Canadian affiliate of the International Education and Resource Network (www.iearn.org).

Cormac Callanan: INHOPE

Cormac Callanan is the Secretary-General of INHOPE (www.inhope.org), an international association of Internet hotline providers in 21 countries.

John Carr: NCH, UK

John Carr heads the Children and Technology Unit of NCH, a child welfare and child protection charity, the largest of its kind in the UK (www.nch.org.uk). He also acts as secretary for the Children's Charities' Coalition for Internet Safety (CHIS), comprising child welfare and child protection agencies.

* Elizabeth Protacio-de Castro: UP-CIDS, Philippines

Dr Elizabeth Protacio-de Castro heads the Psychosocial Trauma and Human Rights Programme based at the University of the Philippines' Centre for Integrative and Development Studies (UP-CIDS). She collaborated recently in research for the report, Child Pornography in the Philippines. Dr Protacio-de Castro is the lead facilitator for thematic workshops to be held at the East Asia and Pacific Regional Consultation on Violence against Children, in Bangkok from June 14-16, 2005.

Ting-Fang Chin: ECPAT Taiwan

Ting-Fang Chin is an Internet hotline researcher for ECPAT Taiwan, a member of the INHOPE association of Internet hotline providers.

* Will Gardner: Childnet International, UK

Will Gardner is the Research and Policy Manager at Childnet International, the international children's charity promoting Internet safety for children (see www.childnet-int.org). Mr Gardner is a member of the UK Home Office Task Force on child protection on the Internet.

Mark Hecht: Beyond Borders, Canada

Mark-Erik Hecht is an assistant professor at the University of Windsor, specialising in international child law, human rights, and their relationship with new technologies. He is an ECPAT International board member, co-founder and senior legal counsel for Beyond Borders: Ensuring Global Justice for Children, and a member of the Canadian Government's Committee against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth.

Lars LÃÃf: Baltic Sea States Council, Sweden

Lars LÃÃf heads the Children's Unit within the Council of the Baltic Sea States. He is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist specialising in the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents, especially those who have suffered extreme and abusive exploitation, war and torture. Mr LÃÃf initiated Save the Children Sweden's Hotline, and helped to develop the Victim Identification Project which supports children exploited on the Internet.

Hamish McCulloch: Interpol, Lyon, France

Hamish McCulloch is Interpol's Assistant Director for Trafficking in Human Beings based in Lyon, France. Mr McCulloch manages an international database of images of child sexual abuse which is used to identify and trace victims, as well as perpetrators of child pornography.

* Junko Miyamoto: ECPAT / STOP Japan

Junko Miyamoto is the director of ECPAT / STOP Japan, an advocacy organisation that runs education and awareness-raising campaigns and lobbies in Japan for legal reform to protect children against commercial sexual exploitation, especially for the implementation of stronger laws against child pornography.

Eileen Munro: London School of Economics, UK

Eileen Munro is a reader in social policy at the London School of Economics specializing in child protection. She is collaborating on a project to review current evidence on the incidence and impact of different forms of Internet abuse.

* Ethel Quayle: COPINE, Eire

Dr Quayle is a lecturer with the Department of Applied Psychology, University College Cork, Ireland, and a project director with the COPINE (Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe) Project. COPINE is recognised as a world authority on images of child sexual abuse (child pornography) distributed over the Internet. Dr Quayle deals with crimes against children related to online images of abuse (including virtual imagery and Japanese manga), online sexual solicitation or grooming of children, and the behaviour of child sex offenders in and out of cyberspace.

* Fabio Reis: CEDECA-BA, Brazil

Fabio Reis is a specialist in the implementation of hotlines to monitor the dissemination of images of child sexual abuse (child pornography) on the Internet. He has a background in computer science and international criminology. As a volunteer at child rights group CEDECA-BA in Brazil, he has set up a pilot project for a hotline that is about to begin operation, supported by the INHOPE Association.

Pamela Shifman: UNICEF, New York

Pamela Shifman is UNICEF's Programme Officer on Violence and Sexual Exploitation, based in New York. Recently she has reported on sexual abuses against children and women in Darfur, Sudan.

Stuart Trail: POLIT, National Crime Squad, UK

Stuart Trail is a police investigator with the UK's Paedophile On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT), attached to the National Crime Squad in London. POLIT supports, co-ordinates and assists national and international investigations of Internet-related child abuse. It also administers and continues to develop Child Base, the UK national database of abusive images of children.

Arto Tsunano: ECPAT / STOP Japan

Arto Tsunano, an 18-year-old student, is a youth representative at ECPAT / STOP Japan and an advocate on cyberspace and mobile phone safety issues.

Janis Wolak, University of New Hampshire, USA

Janis Wolak is a researcher at the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, USA. She has co-authored numerous research reports on Internet-related crimes against children.

ENDS


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