x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Global anti-child abuse task force set for first conference in UAE

A three-day conference at Yas Island will discuss ways to protect children from online abuse.

ABU DHABI // Experts meet in the capital today to discuss protecting children from online abuse.

The Virtual Global Task force (VGT) is convening for the first time in the Middle East at a three-day conference at Yas Hotel.

The conference, themed "Youth and the VGT - Together Forward", will discuss the task force's plan for further expansion, the addition of new members and the implementation of new strategies to fight child abuse.

This includes the application of the Child Exploitation Tracking System, a tool by Microsoft that tracks online activity and is designed to identify anyone who might abuse children via the internet.

The UAE joined the VGT in March last year and is represented by the Ministry of Interior Higher Committee for Child Protection.

The committee is also forming partnerships with other international institutions that implement child protection laws in an effort to join the fight on a global front.

Maj Gen Nasser al Nuaimi, the secretary general to the minister of interior, said that the goal of this conference was to protect UAE children from the dangers of technology, adding that the conference will be used as an opportunity to explore new techniques of countering online child abuse. A series of media campaigns is being planned, and the committee will introduce a number of academic and training programs to raise community awareness, said Lt Col Faisal al Shimry, liaison officer with the VGT and media co-ordinator.

The VGT was established in 2003 to fight online child abuse, and aims to dismantle global paedophile networks, co-ordinate covert internet investigations, share and develop intelligence and target sex offenders. The task force includes agencies in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, as well as Interpol.