child exploitation

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Greater Manchester child sex abuse risk levels revealed

Published August 6, 2013 by misty534

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More than 400 children are considered at risk of sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester, council figures have revealed.

The area’s 10 councils list 436 children as being at risk, 165 of whom are subject to police investigations.

It is the first time such figures have been made available.

Stockport MP Ann Coffey said it was “only by gathering this information that we can map out the extent” of the issue.

Ms Coffey, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, said collation would allow authorities to “develop the kind of interventions that we need to prevent these children being exploited”.

‘Safe and protected’

Children at risk by authority

The number of children currently at risk of being sexually exploited as listed by each Greater Manchester authority:

  • Bolton – 32
  • Bury – 37
  • Manchester – 100
  • Oldham – 40
  • Rochdale – 54
  • Salford – 29
  • Stockport – 23
  • Trafford – 52
  • Tameside – 31
  • Wigan – 38

 

The publishing of the figures, which were obtained by BBC Radio Manchester, follows a number of convictions across the country, including that of nine men in May 2012 who ran a child sex exploitation ring in Rochdale.

The case led to a review of child protection services in the town.

Ms Coffey said there was now a “far greater awareness among agencies about child sex exploitation, but certainly what we were are still not managing to do is communicate with children at an earlier stage about what is happening to them”.

She said that it was not just the job of agencies and local authorities to protect children, it was also the responsibility of the wider public.

“What happens to children is all our business and we all need to be responsible for ensuring that the children in our community are safe and protected,” she said.

‘Continually reviewed’

Alison Worsley of the children’s charity Barnardo’s said it was “hard to get these figures and understand this problem” as it was often “hidden”.

“Strange as it may seem, young people may not even realise that they are being exploited,” she said.

She added that the charity welcomed the figures and the work that Greater Manchester Police was doing in “actively looking to prevent this problem”.

Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley said the issue had become one of the force’s “top priorities, reflected in the multi-agency teams now in place in Rochdale, Manchester, Salford, Tameside, Stockport and Oldham”.

She said the success of the teams in those areas meant the force was “planning to roll them out” across the rest of Greater Manchester.

She added that while there were 165 young people considered at direct risk, all the cases were “continually reviewed and any that meet the police threshold for a potential criminal investigation will be picked up by detectives”.

 

BBC news

Paedophiles get child sex tourism warning from Thomas Cook

Published August 4, 2013 by misty534

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WELCOME packs handed out by a travel agency are warning tourists that “child sex tourism is a criminal offence”

The information features in a Thomas Cook guide’s “top ten tips” for enjoying your holiday, including “haggling with humour” and “respecting local traditions”.

A rep in the family-friendly resort of Hammamet, Tunisia, said: “We have to put that bit in because unfortunately you do get some weirdos wherever you go.

“In Tunisia you get an awful lot of young kiddies trying to make money in the streets. It is just a note we put in as a precaution to give advice if people need help.”

Sheila Taylor, from the National Working Group to Tackle Child Sex Exploitation, said: “This message in the welcome pack could be something people would not expect to see.

“But child exploitation is a problem and we have a duty to reinforce that message.”

No one at Thomas Cook was available for comment.

Charities have also voiced concerns that it is youngsters who are often sent out to work in the tourism trade and are prime target for exploitation. They have spoken out about the “rising problem” of British paedos flying out to cheap holiday destinations to prey on deprived youngsters.

Colin Walker, of UK charity End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking, said: “It is no coincidence that a lot of sex offenders target poor countries. They believe it is easier to get away with there. More needs to be done by the Government.

The courts can issue Foreign Travel Orders to those on the Sex Register to stop them travelling abroad but they are rarely used.

“At the moment those who are found to be guilty of child sex crimes in this country, who are not given these orders, are free to travel the world. And if they are a danger to children abroad, they are a danger to children in the UK.”

 

by Sian Hewitt

Police roadshow to help spot child sex exploiters

Published August 1, 2013 by misty534

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Police and their partners are hitting Bradford and Keighley with a roadshow to highlight the issues of child sexual exploitation.

The action plan forms part of the ongoing force-wide campaign entitled ‘Know the Signs’ and includes a video which will be played on a big screen at each location.

Neighbourhood Policing Team officers, Safeguarding staff and representatives from partnership organisations will also be speaking to the public.

West Yorkshire Police Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Ingrid Lee (above) said: “We are pro-actively approaching communities to tell them about child sexual exploitation. Some offences are occurring at street level and by telling people what to look out for, we can encourage their awareness.”

 

Bradford Argus

New trends in child sexual abuse offending reported by CEOP

Published July 4, 2013 by misty534

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New trends in child sexual abuse offending and the growing availability of the internet in the developing world are likely to exacerbate the threat to children, the latest findings from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre warn.

In its annual Threat Assessment of Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (TACSEA), the use of the ‘hidden internet’ and the live streaming of abuse are identified as new ways that offender’s are sexually abusing children.

The TACSEA, which sets out where CEOP will focus its activity in the coming year, as the organisation moves into the National Crime Agency (NCA) in October 2013, outlines four key threats:

  • the proliferation of indecent images of children,
  • online sexual exploitation,
  • transnational child sexual abuse; and
  • contact child sexual abuse.

Other key findings show that approximately 190,000 UK children (1 in 58) will suffer contact sexual abuse by a non-related adult before turning 18, with approximately 10,000 new child victims of contact sexual abuse being reported in the UK each year.

A number of different offender types are also identified, including those who target teenagers and young people on their basis of their vulnerability, those who have a long standing sexual interest in children and those that embed themselves in foreign countries for the purpose of child sexual abuse.

CEOP Chief Executive Peter Davies said:

“It’s part of CEOP’s job to inform the public and our partners about how our understanding of the risk to children from sexual exploitation and abuse is developing.  Every year we refresh our assessment and build our operational plans around it.  This year, of course, our assessment will also feed into the wider efforts of the National Crime Agency, whose mission is to protect the public and cut crime.

“Events of the last year show that interest in protecting children, both online and offline, has never been greater and we hope that sharing what we know with as many other people as possible will help make children safer.

“Child protection isn’t the preserve of specialists; it’s the duty of every individual and of society in general.  Only by building a shared understanding of the risks will we be able, collectively, to work effectively to eliminate them.

“Our assessment shows that, sadly, there are still too many children at risk and too many people who would cause them serious harm.  We should all practice zero tolerance to child sexual exploitation and abuse.  While the assessment may not make comfortable reading, that isn’t its purpose; it’s an objective assessment of the issues as we see them but as a result it is also, undoubtedly, a call to action.

“Within the National Crime Agency, the CEOP Command will play a pivotal role in sharing its expertise, specialist resources and knowledge to ensure that children are even safer in the future – not just here in the UK, but also abroad”.

For more information on the work of CEOP, visit www.ceop.police.uk and to access CEOP’s Thinkuknow educational site, visit www.thinkuknow.co.uk.

The full TACSEA report is available here.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. Key findings from each key threat include:

Proliferation of indecent images of children 

  • In 2012, CEOP received 8,000 reports of indecent images of children being shared, featuring 70,000 still images and videos – a two-fold increase on previous years
  • Live streaming of child abuse footage is emerging as a growing method of abusers sharing indecent images and videos.
  • There are growing concerns over the use of the hidden internet; UK daily users connecting to secret or encrypted networks increased by two thirds, one of the largest annual increases globally. CEOP expects 20,000 daily UK users by the end of this year (although not all of these will use the hidden internet for criminal means)
  • There has been a 70% increase in the number of female victims under 10 years old
  • 125% increase in the number of level 4 images (Sentencing Council classification)

Online child sexual exploitation

  • Offenders are now investing a smaller amount of time focusing on larger numbers of victims, sometimes in their hundreds (with victims located all around the world)
  • Figures from the past year showed that CEOP received 1,145 reports of online child sexual exploitation.
  • In 69% of cases, the adult failed to sexually abuse a child and the aim of physically meeting a child in order to commit contact sexual abuse was only present in 6.8 per cent of cases.

Transnational child sexual abuse

  • Reports show that the majority of UK offenders who sexually abuse children abroad were not Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s)
  • TCSO behaviour appears to relate less to specific countries, but more  to do with risk factors found in a number of countries
  • There has been an increase in the number of reports of embedded transnational child sexual abuse in Bangladesh
  • There are fears of an increased threat of child sexual abuse in Brazil as more visitors head there over the coming years for the World Cup and Olympic Games.

Contact child sexual abuse 

  • Figures from 25 police forces revealed 2,120 lone perpetrators and 31 forces reported 65 group or gang related offences.
  • A number of offenders have been identified as targeting teenagers and young adults on the basis of their vulnerability rather than due to a specific sexual interest in children (type 1). A second group of offenders (type 2) have a long standing sexual interest in children and may be part of what has previously been described as a ‘paedophile ring.’
  • Figures from police forces show that the majority of type one offenders were categorised as Asian, and 97 per cent of type one offences involved white victims. The TACSEA highlights that the freedom white British children enjoy could make them more vulnerable to abuse. 
  • Lone offending was the most prevalent offence type

2. Child abuse images, not ‘child pornography’

Use of the phrase ‘child pornography’ actually benefits child sexual abusers:

  • it indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser
  • it conjures up images of children posing in ‘provocative’ positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse
  • every photograph captures an actual situation where a child has been abused. This is not pornography.

3. Child abuse image classification

The Sentencing Advisory Guidelines classify child abuse images into five different levels:

  • Level 1:  Images depicting erotic posing with no sexual activity
  • Level 2:  Non-penetrative sexual activity between children, or solo masturbation by a child
  • Level 3:  Non-penetrative sexual activity between adults and children
  • Level 4:  Penetrative sexual activity involving a child or children, or both children and adults
  • Level 5:  Sadism or penetration of, or by, an animal

4. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre

CEOP works in both online and offline environments to protect children from sexual exploitation. Full information on all areas of work, as well as online safety messages and access to online reporting, can be found at www.ceop.police.uk

5.  National Crime Agency, CEOP Command

CEOP will retain its operational independence within the context of the NCA; have clear, delegated authority for its budget; continue to include external partners in its governance; retain its well-known brand; retain its mixed economy of staff, from a variety of disciplines and continue its innovative partnerships with the public, private and third sector and have the ability to raise and hold funds from donors.

Further Information

CEOP press office – 0870 000 3434

Streaming of child sexual abuse online on the increase

Published July 2, 2013 by misty534

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Child sexual abuse streamed live over the internet on services like Skype has been flagged as an emerging threat by experts.

An increasing number of offenders in 2012 were seen targeting vulnerable families overseas to set up live access to children over webcams in exchange for payment, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) has found.

In its annual threat assessment of child sexual exploitation and abuse, Ceop also warned that there are increased fears of child sexual abuse in Brazil as more visitors head there over the coming years for the World Cup and Olympic Games.

In 2012, Ceop received 8,000 reports of indecent images of children being shared, featuring a two-fold increase in the number of images and videos on previous years to 70,000.

Ceop chief executive Peter Davies said: “Our assessment shows that, sadly, there are still too many children at risk and too many people who would cause them serious harm. We should all practice zero tolerance to child sexual exploitation and abuse.”

Live streaming was identified as an emerging method of producing and distributing indecent images last year, the report said.

And Ceop warned that this tactic – particularly in the developing world – continues to carry a high risk this year.

Sex offenders are targeting families and children in areas with extreme poverty, rising levels of access to the internet and poor child protection policies, the report said.

The centre also raised concerns about the use of the so-called hidden internet – heavily encrypted forums and pages that allow abusers to cover their tracks when accessing indecent images online.

Meanwhile, Ceop found that there has been a 70% increase in the number of female victims under 10 years old.

Ceop said that a number of offenders have been identified as targeting teenagers and young adults on the basis of their vulnerability rather than due to a specific sexual interest in children. These are known as “type one” offenders and crimes.

And figures from police forces show that the majority of type one offenders were categorised as Asian, and 97% of type one offences involved white victims.

But figures from 25 police forces revealed 2,120 lone perpetrators and 31 forces reported 65 group or gang related offences.

An NSPCC spokeswoman in the UK said: “The evidence the NSPCC has gathered from all police forces in England and Wales shows there are around 20,000 sexual offences against children reported every year and many of the victims are under primary-school age.

“However, we believe this is far from the true situation as many cases are never revealed. And since the Savile sex crimes were revealed, our helpline has experienced an increase in the number of adults reporting cases which happened many years, even decades, earlier.

“While there are cases of children being sexually assaulted by strangers, the vast majority of these offences – around nine out of 10 – are committed by someone the child knows.

“It is crucial that our efforts to protect children from sexual abuse focus on deterrence and prevention and that our focus is the risk to children, both on and offline.”

 

Breaking news IE

Eastbourne man jailed for child porn offences

Published June 25, 2013 by misty534

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An Eastbourne man was jailed for four years on Monday (June 24) for collecting and distributing photos of children being abused.

David Alan Wood, 47, of Bexhill Road, was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court, following his conviction last month of six counts of making indecent images of children at Level Four, one of the most serious categories, one roll-up charge of making indecent images of children at levels one through to four, and conspiracy to cause or incite a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

The sentencing was broken down into 12 months on each count of making indecent images and four years for the conspiracy offence. These sentences will run concurrently, making a total of four years in custody. Probation will then manage Wood on an extended licence for two more years.

Wood was also charged with distribution of indecent images of children but this was ordered to lie on the court file and was not proceeded with.

In relation to the conspiracy offence, Wood used a false identity to discuss on-line the abuse of young boys with others. One such also man lived in Sussex and was also arrested.

Wood and this man openly discussed abusing boys and their desire to abuse together. The other man was charged with similar offences but took his own life before trial.

The court also served Wood with a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) severely restricting his access to the Internet and to boys under 16. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for life. He is also banned from working with children for life.

Wood had been arrested by detectives from the Sussex Police Paedophile On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT) following intelligence from the national Child Exploitation On-Line Protection Centre (CEOP).

Detective Constable Jackie Keogh of POLIT said, “Wood initially denied that he was responsible for any of the images and we had to carry out a great deal of forensic computer and protracted investigative work to prove that he was responsible.

“Not only was he a collector and distributor of indecent images of teenage boys, each one of which in itself is an image of sexual abuse, but he was also complicit in seeking to meet another man for actual physical abuse of a young boy.”

Detective Inspector Jez Prior said, “We will always take seriously reports of alleged offending of this type, whether they come from law enforcement or the public.

“Anyone who has concerns or information about possible offences can contact us in confidence at any time via 101, asking for the Sussex Paedophile On-Line Investigation Team.”

 

Eastbourne Herald

Bishop Auckland MP calls for immediate Government action on internet porn

Published June 9, 2013 by misty534

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A NORTH-EAST MP has called for immediate Government action to halt the growth of child pornography on the internet.

David Cameron today demanded that search providers such as Google to do more to rid the web of child porn, warning that lives are being put at risk.

The Prime Minister said he was “sickened” by the proliferation of child porn which “pollutes the internet” and told companies to stop making excuses for failing to remove offensive graphic images.

Leading internet search providers (ISPs) have now been summoned to a meeting with culture secretary Maria Miller and Mr Cameron’s adviser on the issue, Tory MP Claire Perry, on June 17.

It is believed search providers will be asked to set up investigation units whose sole responsibility will be to track down child pornography and other illegal obscene images and remove them from the internet.

Mr Cameron said: “I am sickened by the proliferation of child pornography. It pollutes the internet, twists minds and is quite simply a danger to children.

“There are encouraging signs that the industry is willing to step up, increasing funding and technical support for organisations combating child sexual abuse imagery online. But I want more action.

“The time for excuses and blame is over – we must all work together. The safety of our children is at stake – and nothing matters more than that”.

However, shadow culture minister Helen Goodman said that while she welcomed the move, she denounced the length of time it had taken for the government to act and called on the Prime Minister to made specific demands of search providers.

She said: “David Cameron’s call for internet companies to do more is welcome, but it is important he puts specific requirements on them”.

The Bishop Auckland MP said Labour would make “safe search” the default and called for the introduction of robust age verification.

She also called for the introduction of “splash pages” to display warnings of graphic content.

Ms Goodman said: “We introduced that onto gambling sites in the last parliament, so we know it works.

“David Cameron came into government saying this would be the most family-friendly government we have ever had.

“But it is two years since his independent Bailey review (into the pressures on children to grow up too quickly) and he has still not come forward with a communications bill.

“We need action now”.

Research by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) has suggested that more than half of those who view child abuse images go on to commit abuse themselves.

Last week, academics from Durham University wrote to the Prime Minister calling for a tightening of the law to criminalise websites offering “rape porn”.

Pressure for action to deal with offensive imagery on the internet has been growing since the trial of Mark Bridger, who was convicted last month of the murder of five-year-old April Jones and was found to have a cache of 65 criminal abuse images.

A campaign set up after the death of Darlington 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall, murdered by a paedophile posing as a teenage boy, led to a change in the rules governing social networking sites.

 

Darlington & Stockton Times

Tackling child sex abuse ‘priority’

Published May 15, 2013 by misty534

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Tackling child sexual exploitation is now a bigger priority than gun crime for Greater Manchester Police, a conference has heard.

 

Assistant Chief Constable of the force, Steve Heywood, said it was the force’s “number one priority” and more convictions would follow as a result.

In the wake of the Rochdale abuse probe which led to the jailing of nine men last May, the force set up a public protection division of 550 officers and staff who are partly dedicated to child protection.

Speaking to delegates from local authorities across Greater Manchester, he said: “Our number one priority at the moment is CSE (child sexual exploitation).

“It is now ahead of gun crime.

“Expect a lot more convictions.

“I have got more detectives working on CSE than I have on gun crime.

“Now for a place like Manchester, as with any conurbation where there is a level of violence and organised criminality, that is quite a statement.

“With that level of investment in resources will come a lot more convictions.”

He explained that a multi-agency approach helped eradicate the city’s image of “Gunchester”, created by a high number of murders and weapons on the streets in the 1990s.

A similar tactic was needed in a Greater Manchester-wide response to CSE, he said.

“The difficulty for us was that some of those communities accepted gun crime as the norm,” Mr Heywood said.

“It was not until those communities had decided ‘We have had enough’ that we could start to understand from the policing perspective what our role was and I think the same here around CSE.

“I think the communities are now probably (saying) ‘Do you know what, we have enough with CSE as well’ and now we can start to do something about it.

“Our learning from a policing perspective was we could not solve this (gun crime) alone.

“You can’t solve gun crime by just throwing loads of yellow jackets into some of our inner city streets and expect it all to go away.

“It doesn’t work like that.”

He said GMP went on to understand that “a piecemeal approach” did not work and that a clear strategy could not be put into place until other agencies came in and worked together to tackle the gun problem.

He added though that CSE was “not just a Greater Manchester issue”.

“This is a UK and international issue, and we have to understand that,” he said. “We are not on our own here.”

Mr Heywood was speaking at the conference in Middleton organised by Rochdale Borough Council and its safeguarding children board to look at the lessons learned in the borough in the last year and to shape a Greater Manchester-wide approach to CSE.

Nine Asian men received jail sentences of between four and 19 years last May at Liverpool Crown Court for offences which happened in and around the town in 2008 and 2009.

Five girls, aged between 13 and 15, were given alcohol, food and money in return for sex but there were times when violence was used.

Police said the victims were from “chaotic” backgrounds and as many as 50 girls could have been preyed on by the gang.

A chance to stop the gang was missed in 2008 and both the police and Crown Prosecution Service were forced to apologise for their failings.

Jim Taylor, chief executive of Rochdale council, said all Greater Manchester authorities had agreed to proposals to support a central data and intelligence sharing system.

He said that watching and listening to the coverage of the convictions for child sexual exploitation in Oxford had made him “more determined to make sure we put all our efforts into this particular agenda”.

“All of us know that the sexual exploitation of children is an appalling crime,” he said.

“It is carried out by the worst kind of criminals. Unfortunately we can’t stamp out the vile instincts of the people who carry out these awful acts but we can make sure our own house is in order.

“We can make sure that the right systems are in place and and adopt an approach that will reassure parents in Greater Manchester that we are doing everything we can to protect children.”

An independent internal review into how the council responded to the allegations which led to last year’s court case is due to be published in the coming weeks.

A serious case review on the matter is scheduled to report back in September, while reports are also awaited from the Commons Home Affairs committee on localised child grooming and from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into Greater Manchester Police’s 2008 investigation.

 

St Helens, the reporter