By Pierce O’Reilly from The Irish Examiner
A GROUP set up to tackle child pornography on the internet is on the verge of collapse because the Government is not providing enough funding, a conference heard yesterday.
“We have no government funding, we have no investment or resources and if it wasn’t for a few very concerned volunteers on the ground there would be no facilities either,” the director of Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe (COPINE), said yesterday.
Max Taylor said their information on child pornography was very worrying: “Ireland is no different to any other country in the
world and we must accept that child pornography is now a serious problem and growing all the time.”
Mr Taylor was speaking at the Global Child Pornography Forum in Dublin, where it was revealed that nine out of ten children in Ireland had viewed pornography on the internet before the age of 16.
“The issue of child pornography has not being grasped properly in this country and resources are not adequate to tackle it,” he said. “Pornography figures here are similar to any other European country. This situation is similar to the child sexual abuse cases of 15 or 20 years ago in Ireland. People’s immediate response then was that it wasn’t true because they hadn’t see it for themselves. This is a similar problem. People don’t see it so they don’t want to believe it’s taking place. Our research shows we’re no different than any other country and we have a problem“.
The International Centre For Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), told the forum there were over 40,000 sex sites on the worldwide web.
“The problem of child pornography is at its highest possible level,” said Ernie Allen, president and chief executive officer of ICMEC. “This is not a national issue, it is a globe problem and we must address it on a global basis.”
The ICMEC, which was set up by Ernie Allen and Irish MEP Mary Banotti, said child pornography was escalating at an alarming rate: “Lots of law enforcement agencies don’t recognise the enormity of the problem. They are only now catching up with the perpetrators. The problem requires greater parental awareness, parental involvement, better communication between police forces, improved technology and new software that will protect children. For too long people have being able to operate in virtual anonymity with little or no risk of identification.”
Co-chairperson of the forum Mary Banotti said the information was disturbing. “Children are being groomed to participate in pornography from an early age and that is shocking,” she said of the statistics on those who have viewed internet porn in their teens.Posted by paul at October 19, 2002 03:52 PM