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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 March 2006, 12:22 GMT
Sites selling child porn targeted
Dollars and keyboard, BBC/Corbis
The group wants to stop websites profiting from child porn
Net and finance firms are joining up to stamp out commercial child pornography.

The newly formed Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography brings together 18 organisations including Bank of America, American Express, Mastercard, AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft.

The group will share information about websites that sell child porn and stop payments passing to them.

The group aims to make it impossible to profit from selling child porn within two years.

Cash flow

As well as bringing together financial groups and net firms the coalition is also supported by the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), and the US National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

"Battling the proliferation of child pornography websites requires the efforts of many," said Baron Daniel Cardon de Lichtbuer, Chairman of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children. "Law enforcement around the world is engaged, but we must also disrupt the economics of this despicable business."

America Online
American Express
Bank of America
Discover Financial Services
First Data Corporation
First National Bank of Omaha
North American Bancard
First Premier Bank/Premier Bankcard
Standard Chartered Bank
Wells Fargo Bank
The net had helped to make child pornography a multi-billion dollar business, said Lord Cardon de Lichtbuer because it made it easy to buy illegal images and videos using credit cards and other payment systems.

The organisations involved in the coalition aim to share information about commercial child pornography sites and ensure that payments for images are not passed on. It will also issue cease and desist notices to websites.

It is estimated that more than 200,000 websites seek to profit from child pornography.

"To eliminate the commercial viability of child pornography, we must stop the flow of money," said Ernie Allen, chairman of the coalition and president of ICMEC and NCMEC in statement announcing the formation of the group. "To do that, we need the involvement of the world's leaders in the payments industry and the internet."

Reports of child pornography passed to the US National Center for Missing & Exploited Children CyberTipline have increased from 24,000 reports in 2001 to more than 340,000 in 2005.

Net users who find child porn sites are encouraged to report them to local watchdogs. The website of the International Association of Internet Hotlines hosts lists of reporting organisations in many countries.

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