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Child sex exploitation forum to focus on it, trafficking
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Monday, 17 December 2001
Japan -- Advances in technology and trafficking are posing serious new threats in the fight against the commercial sexual exploitation of children, a key organiser of an international conference on child exploitation in Yokohama said. The two major issues we are focusing on now...which were hardly mentioned in (the first congress in) Stockholm...are technology and trafficking, said June Kane, communications advisor to the Second World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.

Kane made the remarks ahead of the four-day congress to begin December 17 in Yokohama.

The Yokohama event will be jointly hosted by the Japanese government, the UNICEF, and two international non-governmental organisations -- End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT), and the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The equal involvement of the four organising groups is a recognition of the fact that this issue is so complex, multidisciplinary, multi-sectoral that the players have to work together or theyre
not going to get anywhere, Kane said.

She said the upcoming congress will be strategic planning exercise to assess the state of child exploitation in the five years since the inaugural gathering in the Swedish capital in August 1996.

In comparison to the first congress, there will be more than 70 workshops where participants will discuss methods, experiences and new developments in tackling the issues, according to Kane.

Additionally, while we will have no new declaration coming out of this meeting, we will look at six regional plans of action that have been prepared this year in the run-up to the meeting she said, indicating a focus on actions at regional levels.

On technology, she stressed how mobile phones and text messaging technology, among others, are being used in the trade, with more Web sites on child pornography providing real-time online images of exploited children at customers requests.

The victim identification project involving the participation of the police and Internet service providers is one such project that aims to use technology to track children who are being exploited on the Internet, according to Kane.

She also lauded Japan for its specific actions and specific successes in the field, and said its co-operation contributed to the break-up of the Wonderland Club international pornography ring case handled by the international police force Interpol.

As of Friday, she said there are 3,159 participants including 694 government representatives from 132 countries, 695 people
from international NGOs from 126 countries, and 90 young delegates, slated to take part in the symposium.
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