European Financial Coalition

Background

While there is no doubt that sexual abuse and exploitation of children is a serious problem, there is a lack of accurate and reliable statistics on the nature of the phenomenon and the numbers of children involved. This is due mainly to the very significant under-reporting by victims on the one hand, and inadequate data collection mechanisms (including differences in national definitions of different child sexual abuse and exploitation offences) on the other. » Read more

The following data may give an idea of its severity :

  • According to a study performed by ECPAT in 2005, Cyberspace is home to more than one million images of tens of thousands of children being subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation.
  • According to the UNODC, the online child abuse industry generates an estimated 50,000 new child sexual abuse images each year and is worth USD 250 million globally.
  • In 2011, the UK Internet Watch Foundation found that :
    • 74% of the child victims appeared to be 10 years old and under.
    • 64% of all the child sexual abuse URLs depicted sexual activity between adults and children including the rape and sexual torture of the children.

The commercial distribution of images constitutes an average estimate of 20% of the total problem of sexual exploitation of children online.

The origin of the European Financial Coalition goes back to 2006, when the US based National Center for Missing & Exploited Children & the International Center for Missing & Exploited Children created the 'Financial Coalition against Child Pornography. 'The goal of the US Coalition was to eradicate the commercial viability of child pornography by following the flow of funds and shutting down the payment accounts that are being used by the suppliers of such illegal material. The FCACP includes leading banks, credit card companies, third-party payment companies, and Internet services companies, who work together through a clearinghouse established to facilitate the sharing of information among FCACP companies and law enforcement. In addition, FCACP members leverage their collective expertise and develop best practices to deter the online exploitation of children.

Several steps were undertaken since by European stakeholders, including :

  • The publication of two legal reports on the obstacles to- and possibilities of establishing a similar Coalition in the EU [www.missingchildreneurope.eu].
  • The implementation of an EC funded project led by CEOP (UK) focusing on commercial websites facilitating the trade of child abusive material on the Internet.
  • Research conducted since identified a migration of the problem from traditional pay per view websites to other, more opaque online environments, such as chat, newsgroups, hosting services. Stakeholders also acknowledged that new payment systems, including digital currency, prepaid cards, mobile payments may constitute new challenges, and that cooperation between payment system providers, LEA, ISPs & NGOs is needed for the problem to be addressed. The "new" EFC will therefore focus on the distribution of illegal content depicting the sexual abuse of children where any kind of commercial relation is established between 2 or more parties in all online environments.

The European Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online (EFC) brings together key actors from law enforcement, the private sector and civil society in Europe with the common goal of fighting the commercial sexual exploitation of children online. Members of the EFC join forces to take action on the payment and ICT systems that are used to run these illegal operations.

List of Abbreviations

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Publications

Brochures, Infographics & Fact Sheets

Reports and Assessments

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