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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 21 June 2012

EU and U.S. launch Global Alliance to fight child sexual abuse online

The EU - US Justice and Home Affairs ministerial meeting held in Copenhagen today called upon governments around the world to participate in building a Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online. This initiative seeks to unite decision-makers all around the world to better identify and assist victims and to prosecute the perpetrators.

"I feel very strongly about the need to fight these outrageous crimes. We must go beyond mere declarations of principle and achieve concrete improvements at national level. The recent adoption of the Directive on child sexual abuse was an important first step forward. There is, however, a need for more action worldwide. You will hardly find a case of child sexual abuse online that does not involve criminals, victims or infrastructure in third countries. Therefore, together with US Attorney General Mr Eric Holder, I have proposed a Global Alliance of national Ministers of the Interior and Justice. The EU and the U.S. have taken the lead in designing the Alliance, and plan to invite States around the world to join", said Cecilia Malmström, EU commissioner for Home Affairs, after her meeting today with Eric Holder, US Attorney General, in Copenhagen.

Child sexual abuse online is a crime that is ubiquitous and knows no borders. Child pornography images circulate easily across jurisdictions and perpetuate victimisation of children whose abuse is depicted and disclosed time and again. Child pornography offenders are increasingly operating in international online groups that use sophisticated technology and security protocols to frustrate the efforts of law enforcement to investigate their crimes. Different laws and policies across jurisdictions represent a challenge for law enforcement.

The Global Alliance will seek to unite countries around the world behind a set of shared goals, notably by:

  • Enhancing efforts to identify victims, whose sexual abuse is depicted in child pornography, and ensuring their assistance, support and protection;

  • Reducing the availability of child pornography online and the re-victimization of children;

  • Enhancing efforts to investigate cases of child sexual abuse online and to identify and prosecute offenders;

  • Increasing public awareness of the risks posed by children’s activities online, including the self-production of images, in order to reduce the production of new child pornography.

The Global Alliance builds upon the successful work of the EU-US Working Group on cyber-security and cyber-crime, where the fight against child online abuse has been identified as one of key priorities. The Global Alliance will set out policy targets and operational goals, giving participants the freedom to choose the means how to achieve them. Specific actions, their extent and content, will be decided by participant countries, in accordance with their national situation.

The formal launch of the Global Alliance is planned for December 2012.


Council Conclusions endorsing the Global Alliance and its political targets and goals for discussion with the US at the EU-U.S. JHA Ministerial were adopted at the JHA Council on 7 June 2012.

For more information

Homepage of Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs

Homepage DG Home Affairs:

Contacts :

Michele Cercone (+32 2 298 09 63)

Tove Ernst (+32 2 298 67 64)

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