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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 January 2007, 01:01 GMT
Web plea rescues Canadian child
By Lee Carter
BBC News, Toronto

Google mouse mat
Police praised the child's resourcefulness
Canadian police have taken a child from an allegedly sexually abusive situation after the child's anonymous e-mail plea for help was picked up in Australia.

The child knew enough about computers to enter "kids helpline" - the official name of a children's organisation in Canada - into the Google search engine.

But the e-mail went to a children's helpline in Australia instead.

Australian police teamed up with their colleagues in Canada to mount a successful international investigation.

Child traced

When the e-mail was picked up in Australia it was immediately forwarded to the Australian police's child exploitation unit.

It in turn contacted the local internet provider in New Brunswick, Canada.

Teaming up with Canadian police, the address of the computer and the child was located.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Corporal Lana Prosper praised the child's ingenuity.

"A child doesn't have the same capabilities as an adult. If an adult had something being done to them they can report to the police," Cpl Prosper said.

"This child didn't have that and just said 'well, maybe I can get help this way'."

Cpl Prosper said the child was surprised at how far the message had travelled and grateful that so many people came to the rescue.

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