The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children today thanked Google for helping with redesign and other improvements to its CyberTipline, which enables anyone to report suspected sex crimes against children including child pornography, child sexual molestation and online enticement.
NCMEC said Google’s assistance and technology made the CyberTipline more user-friendly and easier to navigate, and the steps necessary to make a report are now simplified. The organization said it hopes that the revamp will encourage more people to come forward with information that will enable it to protect the nation’s youth.
“The public needs to be vigilant and active in reporting suspected abuses against children,” said Ernie Allen, president and chief executive officer of NCMEC. “We have a responsibility to protect children. If people witness child sexual exploitation, know about it, or just suspect it, they should report it immediately to law enforcement and to the CyberTipline.”
He added that the ever increasing prevalence of social networking, online gaming, webcams and other technologies means there are more opportunities for potential offenders to engage with children.
The CyberTipline was created by Congress in 1998. Reports it receives are first analyzed by trained staff, who then refer relevant information to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies for investigation and prosecution where appropriate.
During 2010, the CyberTipline received 223,374 reports. Through November of 2011, that number had risen to 276,719 reports. Reports can be filed on the website or via its toll-free number 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
NCMEC said 45 percent of reports are made by general members of the public, with the remaining 55 percent coming from what it categorizes as electronic service providers.
Reports to the CyberTipline are organized into eight categories: child pornography; child prostitution; child sex tourism; child sexual molestation; online enticement of children for sexual acts; unsolicited obscene material sent to a child; misleading domain names and misleading words or digital images on the Internet. Of those, the possession, manufacture and/or distribution of child pornography represents 91 percent of all reports.
The CyberTipline is operated in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, the Military Criminal Investigation Organization (MCIO), the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces (ICAC), as well as other state and local law enforcement.
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