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Law enforcement, credit card companies, and online service providers will join forces and work to keep child pornography off the World Wide Web. The group, dubbed the European Financial Coalition (EFC), is funded in large part by the European Commission. The commission gave the EFC €427,000 to help with start up costs and fund initial efforts.
At the helm of the EFC will be the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and some bellwethers in their respective industries such as MasterCard, Microsoft, PayPal, and Visa Europe. Law enforcement will be represented by Europol and the Italian National Postal and Communication Police.
The primary mission of the coalition is, very simply, to stop any and all distribution of child pornography via the Internet. They will work intensively on identifying victims and arresting and prosecuting predators and those who sell these images. The group will also investigate the origins of any funds of which the perpetrators are in possession. Because so many pedophiles use credit cards to purchase their child pornography, partnerships with MasterCard, PayPal, and Visa Europe will prove invaluable.
In addition to their association with the EFC, the EC will begin development of multiple proposals to overhaul the Council Framework Decision on sexual abuse and exploitation of children.
Until recently, organized crime was responsible for much of the commercial distribution of child pornography. The EC was responsible for reducing this circuit considerably but child pornography remains a problem because of the tenacity and resourcefulness of pedophiles that rely heavily on the anonymity the Internet affords them.
The EFC is the first organization of its kind that unites so many public and private entities for the most pervasive and comprehensive monitoring, tracking, and prosecuting of Internet child pornography purchasers and purveyors. While they know they are up against an ever-evolving and constantly-moving target, they are confident in the coalition's resources and dedication to completely eradicate child pornography.