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Type of document: Report
Topic: Policy and Planning
Trafficking patterns
Geographic descriptors: Europe
Language: English
Publisher: Council of Europe
Date of publication: 17 February 2003
Long Abstract: The Internet offers unprecedented ways of finding, marketing and delivering women and children into sexual exploitation, which traffickers have been quick to exploit. The Council of Europe Summit of Heads of State and Government acknowledged the scale of the problem in 1997 and called on the Council of Europe to develop a European policy for the application of new information technologies. As part of this policy, the Council of Europe set up a group of specialists (EG-S-NT) composed of 8 experts in mass media, criminal law and gender equality. The group conducted its research between December 2000 and October 2002 and focussed on three main issues: (i) the impact of the use of new information technologies on trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and its scale: the techniques used and how they work, and the various kinds of users and their motives; (ii) existing legislation and its limits at national and international level and the role of the law in combating illegal or damaging use of the Internet; and (iii) the new challenges involved in protecting human rights and guaranteeing proper use of new technologies, in particular the effects on the victims of trafficking, freedom of expression and the Internet and the role of the media. The research was based on two studies commissioned from Donna Hughes, a researcher at the University of Rhode Island, and supplemented by the findings of a questionnaire sent to all Council of Europe states. In addition, the group asked the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law to prepare a comparative study of the legislation in eight European countries for prosecuting persons involved in trafficking in children and adults on the Internet, for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The report makes some recommendations to the Council of Europe and Member States.
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