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Internet pornographic network Zandvoort


Dutch Investigate an Internet Ring - Belgians Seize Video Cassettes

arton409-1Dutch Investigate an Internet Ring - Belgians Seize Video Cassettes : 2 Pedophilia Cases Stir Action by EU

By Barry James
Published: Herals Tribune - SATURDAY, JULY 18, 1998

BRUSSELS: Two major pedophilia cases in Europe have broken into the open, with Dutch police confirming Friday that they were investigating an Internet pornographic network and a report in Belgium that police were seeking to identify 340 children and adolescents shown in seized pornographic video cassettes.

In the Netherlands, a spokesman confirmed that police were investigating a widespread Internet ring and said that examination of computer material "has brought to light a number of pictures showing serious sexual abuse of children."

In Belgium, reports said that since the end of June police forces all over the country had been seeking with limited success to identify the young people shown in video cassettes seized in a police raid on a pedophiliac ring at Alost, near Brussels.

Many of the cassettes were made on the Portuguese island of Madeira, the reports said.

Reports said one of the victims was identified as a German boy who disappeared in Berlin five years ago, when he was 12, and has been missing since.

The cases created a major political embarrassment for the European Union, which for legal reasons has suspended funding for programs aimed at preventing pornography on the Internet and combating violence against women and children.

Ministers of several European countries met in Brussels on Friday to discuss the controversial budget cuts. Officials said it was likely they would find a way of restoring the funding for "politically sensitive" items.

In Vienna, Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schuessel said that the "especially disgusting" cases of child pornography underlined the necessity of Europe's taking "joint and firm action" to protect children.

"It is not acceptable that child pornography, through the use of the Internet, assumes an even bigger and more gruesome dimension," he said. Austria, which holds the presidency of the European Union, was taking the lead in seeking a resolution to the funding problem.

The German government Friday established a committee to coordinate the fight against child pornography. The government spokesman, Otto Hauser, urged regional police forces to designate experts to scan the Internet for pedophiliac and pornographic content. "The Internet is not a lawless space," he said. "We must widen our search for these criminals."

Meanwhile, Belgian tour operators Friday announced a campaign to make vacationers aware of the child sex trade in a number of overseas destinations. The operators will issue booklets warning travelers that they could face prosecution at home for offenses committed abroad. The operators said they would issue baggage tags with the message, "Stop sexual exploitation of children."

In Belgium, the Dutroux pedophiliac murder scandal two years ago has made child pornography a burning political issue.A Flemish anti-pornography group called the National Morkhoven Task Force revealed the existence of the Dutch-based Internet ring in a television program shown in the Netherlands on Wednesday night.

The program's producers said they had pictures showing infants as young as 1 year old being abused.

"They show children tied up, being raped and abused," said Marcel Vervloesem, a member of the Morkhoven group.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, said earlier this week that it was suspending funding for many humanitarian and social aid groups because of a European Court ruling two months ago that all "significant" budget items had to have the approval of the 15 member governments.

http://www.iht.com/articles/1998/07/18/eu.t_1.php

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