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Last Updated: Monday, 11 June 2007, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Abuse agency rescues 76 children
Porn website
The CEOP saved children after identifying them online
A total of 76 children have been rescued from abusive environments over the past year through the work of a new child protection agency.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) - launched last year - saved 10 children directly, with no help from other agencies.

It also smashed three paedophile rings involving as many as 800 people.

Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said the government was "pleased" with the CEOP's success.

The achievements of the agency were revealed in its first annual report, published on Monday.

Sex offenders located

A number of those rescued were identified through their faces in online pictures which were matched to an online database of children deemed at risk.

Clues in the pictures themselves also enabled officers to trace children.

The report also revealed that 12 of the UK's highest risk child sex offenders were tracked down as a direct result of CEOP appeals and inquiries.

Investigations also led to the arrest of 83 alleged sex offenders.

The centre is dealing with 3,000 cases of child abuse and has received 2,500 reports of abuse, half from members of the public under 18.

In a time of technological advances and greater computer use, we are pleased with the organisation's ongoing success
Vernon Coaker
Home Office minister

CEOP head Jim Gamble said: "These are 76 reasons why this is the best job I have ever had.

"Our suspect pool is focused on those individuals who go online and operate at the top level, who are trying to engage and lure children.

"They are involved in paedophile rings who share information about where you can access a child in the real world."

Controversy

He added that research by the CEOP has found as many as one in four children is now meeting someone in person who they first met on the internet.

He said eight out of 10 of those children are taking another child with them, putting more young people at risk.

Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said: "In a time of technological advances and greater computer use, we are pleased with the organisation's ongoing success in protecting children through empowerment and bringing to justice those that prey on one of the most vulnerable groups in society."

Last week Mr Gamble sparked controversy when he said some child sex offenders should be encouraged to seek treatment rather than be sent to prison.


SEE ALSO
Online website nets sex offender
14 May 07 |  Lancashire
Child porn probe 'shocked police'
10 Jan 07 |  UK Politics

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