I have started a leadership video series hosted by the SafePath Child Advocacy Center in Marietta, Georgia. In the series, I will be hosting discussions with those who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in protecting children from exploitation. I was honored to be joined last week by Sharon Girling, a retired police detective from London. She was awarded an Officer of the British Empire, or OBE, by Queen Elizabeth for her work innovating technology to identify children depicted in images of child sexual abuse, as well as for her years of work investigating crimes against children. Sharon has testified in courts around the globe during her time with England’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). She is a renowned expert on child protection, and has been invited to speak all over the world on the topic. Currently, Sharon consults with law enforcement and Industry in strategies to keep children safe both online and offline. Sharon and I are working on several projects together, and presented together this week at the annual conference of the International Bullying Prevention Association in Nashville, Tennessee. Our focus there was on how new technologies employed by schools can prevent an escalation of bullying and even save children’s lives when they are contemplating suicide or violence.
Please watch our video discussion in the Leadership Series on SafePath’s youtube channel here http://bit.ly/1cSwDJ7 Our discussion in this episode focuses on the effects to victims of their depiction in images of sexual abuse that are trafficked on the Internet. It is sobering to realize that victims of child sexual abuse may be constantly re-victimized because these images, once sent online, could be traded by criminal for years or decades. Sharon and I discuss the problem law enforcement faces in trying to locate and rescue these children, as well as the sad fact that these crimes seem to be losing their priority among some police forces because of their complex nature. While many investigators and prosecutors work tirelessly to find these children and prosecute their abusers, this problem will never be solved through police interdiction alone. We must focus on how technology can act as a force multiplier, how Industry must do its part to aid in this battle, and on strong prevention strategies so children don’t become victims in the first place.