Protecting Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Web

Protecting Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Web

Meter , the Italian association dedicated to protecting the right of children to their innocence in a fight against child pornography, has published their 2011 report (only available in Italian) on the global pedophilia panorama. Founder and President Fortunato Di Noto presented the data on February 14, 2012 to family associations and government officials in a conference held at the Vatican Radio (Rome, Italy).

The research of Meter has calculated over 90,000 children who are victims of sexual exploitation through the Internet. Over 20,000 child pornography websites were found worldwide: an almost 50% increase from 2010. The increase in social networks and their popularity has resulted in a significant surge of child pornography material present on the Web. The 1,087 illicit social networks identified is triple the quantity found in the previous year. “Sexting”, the use of sexual images, video and texts exchanged via chat rooms, social networks, and cell phones, is sadly the present-day trend infecting culture and ruining the lives of thousands of children.

In addition to presenting the facts, Di Noto made a call for action: a network guaranteeing the protection of children against sexual abuse and manipulation is of urgent need. Along these lines, the Commission of Civil Liberty, an organ of the European Parliament, articulated their consonance with an appeal to strengthen efforts to identity and penalize the guilty culprits. Last October 2011, the politician Tiziano Motti launched a proposal in Brussels to enhance the action of the European directive by extending the data trafficking registration to content providers (which include chat rooms and social networks) in an effort to halt the action of pedophiles on the Web.

The publication “SOS Ragazzi” reports that legislative lobbies in favor of pedophilia pose challenges to the objectives of organizations like Meter. In a conference held in Baltimore in August 2011, Fredrick Berlin- sexologist and founder of a clinic for sexual disorders under John Hopkins University (USA)- advocated for the sanction on pedophilia, as long as there is mutual consent and no violence. Howard Kline, science director of the B4U-Act, has proposed the removal of pedophilia from the catalogue of sexual pathologies in the 2013 edition of Diagnostic and Statistical of Mental Disorders.

By raising awareness on the issue of child exploitation on the Web, and by proposing and working out positive concrete actions to combat the problem, Meter is on the front lines of defending the dignity of children in the media sphere.