International minds meet to tackle child sexual abuse

Keyboard spelling out child abuse. | Newsreel
The Virtual Global Taskforce is an international group tackling child sexual abuse. | Photo: Soul Memoria (iStock)

An international alliance dedicated to tackling child sexual abuse met in Brisbane this week.

The Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) meeting was the first in Australia since 2019 and included law enforcement partners from Canada, United States, Colombia, New Zealand, Kenya, Philippines, United Arab Emirates, Korea, and the Netherlands.

It also involved the eSafety Commissioner and non-government organisations such as the International Justice Mission, Neighbourhood Watch Australasia and the Daniel Morcombe Foundation.

Hosted by the Australian Federal Police, which is set to take over as chair of the VGT, the meeting focussed on the rise of financial sextortion targeting children, the looming impact of AI-generated child abuse material as well as education and prevention strategies.

AFP Commander Helen Schneider said online child sexual abuse was a global problem which required an international and united response from law enforcement.

“Online child abuse is an issue which is growing in scale and complexity as technology advances,” Commander Schneider said.

The AFP, through the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE), will chair the VGT from November.

The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into online child sexual exploitation and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.

Members of the public who have information about people involved in child abuse are urged to contact the ACCCE.

If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.

If you or someone you know is impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation, support services are available.