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Swedish banks join fight against child porn

Published: 24 Nov 2010 11:44 GMT+01:00
Updated: 24 Nov 2010 11:44 GMT+01:00

Cooperation between Swedish banks and police to stop the purchase of child pornography images over the internet has proved effective, the national banking association announced on Wednesday.

The Swedish Bankers' Association launched a joint initiative in 2009 to work together to stop the purchase of child pornography on the internet on Wednesday.

In cooperation with ECPAT Sweden (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes) and the National Criminal Investigation Department (Rikskriminalpolisen), the banks will engage in crime prevention with the aim of preventing payments for pictures, Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet wrote on Wednesday.

"As a bank, we do not want to contribute to payments made for illegal activities," Skandiabanken's communications director told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

Commercial sites that sell images of child abuse victims have declined sharply in number, the banks announced on Wednesday.

Separately, police believe that the market has become less attractive to criminals. Cooperation and contributions from other global players have resulted in credit card purchases over the internet of child sexual abuse images increasingly becoming rare.

The banks that are participating in the initiative include Danske Bank, Forex Bank, GE Money Bank, Handelsbanken, ICA Bank, Ikano Bank, Länsförsäkringar Bank, Marginalen Bank, Nordea, SEB, Skandiabanken, Sparbanken Öresund and Swedbank.

The industry association's board decided in February 2009 to form a financial coalition in Sweden to prevent and obstruct the Swedish payment system from being misused for buying and selling child pornography.

The coalition's mission is to develop and coordinate measures to obstruct and prevent child pornography trafficking. Banks began close cooperation with the National Criminal Investigation Department to help identify the companies that sell images of child abuse and to stop the transactions.

Banks work with ECPAT Sweden, a non-profit organization that works to prevent and stop all forms of the child sex trade, including pornography, trafficking and child sex tourism.

In October 2009, European ministers of justice and the interior decided to give political support to the further development of financial coalitions, both nationally and at EU level, to combat child pornography on the internet.

The ministers also gave their support to methods to track and stop payments. The Swedish initiative has been a model for other EU countries in combating child pornography.

The global child sex trade has grown sharply in recent years and is estimated to be worth billions of dollars. It is the third most profitable criminal activity after drugs and arms trafficking.

UNICEF estimates that over 1 million children become victims of sex trafficking around the world every year. Much of the trade is done through the internet, where buyers and sellers try to use traditional payment channels to transfer money to each other.

According to police, 50,000 attempts to reach illegal websites with abusive images of children are prevented in Sweden every day.

TT/The Local/vt (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:59 November 24, 2010 by Nemesis
What is left out of this story is that the banks profitted from these sales for a long time and only changed there mind after intensive lobbying from ECPAT raised the profile of these transactions.

It is about time the banks did take this stand instead of profiting from the transactions.
22:16 November 25, 2010 by eZee.se
@Nemesis,

True. Very very true.

But to look at this from a more positive side, while it IS a shame it took them so long,its better late then never.

"It is the third most profitable criminal activity after drugs and arms trafficking."

Had no idea there were so many sickos in this world, then again I dont know the true numbers of the people who work in the music, oil and film industries and their umbrella organizations.
05:27 November 28, 2010 by maggiekikicat
Does anyone know if USA banks are doing the same ?

Just in case I sent this to my bank,

May I please have a way to contact your CEO.

I have this massage for him,

Swedish banks join fight against child porn

Your CEO can find this message at(http://www.thelocal.se/30398/20101124/)

"As a bank, we do not want to contribute to payments made for illegal activities," Skandiabanken's communications director told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

(Commercial sites that sell images of child abuse victims have declined sharply in number, the banks announced on Wednesday.)!!!

I WILL BE SENDING THIS SAME EXACT MESSAGE TO MY OTHER BANK, (my other bank) I will also get my friends and family to contact their banks. A swell as contact the media of my goal.

Thank you so very much for your time.

(My name)

What do you think??
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