Joint Efforts Globally Distribute 2 Million Child Exploitation Leads
In early 2014, INTERPOL Washington, the U.S. National Central Bureau (USNCB), initiated a 30-day pilot program to test how INTERPOL member countries would assimilate data from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The source of the shared information is NCMEC’s Cyber Tipline Reports, the organization’s analytical result for child abuse leads received. To start, the USNCB disseminated NCMEC information to 10 random member countries, excluding child exploitation imagery. National Central Bureaus (NCBs) in other countries could receive the images via requests to the USNCB, however.
By May 2014, the program went live and the service became available to approximately 140 INTERPOL member countries. By November 2015, 1 million leads had been distributed, with 38 countries requesting additional information for follow-up investigations. These leads are distributed electronically, without the need for dedicated personnel resources.
Now, on April 11th, 2016, less than 2 years later, over 2 million leads have been distributed across 130 different countries. The project’s focus is now to develop the ability of NCBs to retrieve the images without involvement from the USNCB.
Among the program’s most recent successes was the arrest of Colin Fisher, a British national operating in Gibraltar. Of the many leads the USNCB distributed, a Cyber Tipline report was utilized by NCB Gibraltar to inform the country’s own law enforcement to locate Fisher. He was charged with multiple counts of possession (and distribution) of indecent images of children. Combined with a voyeurism charge unrelated to the abuse, Fisher is now serving a 3-year, 8-month sentence.