The United Arab Emirates assumed chair today of the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), an international alliance of law enforcement and private sector agencies dedicated to combating online child sexual exploitation and other forms of transnational child sexual exploitation.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has led the alliance for the past three years. As chairmanship of the VGT rotates among members every three years, UAE will oversee the international taskforce until 2018.
The UAE will be the fourth chair of the VGT since its inception in 2003. Prior to ICE, the VGT was chaired by the United Kingdom’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) who established this taskforce with six founding law enforcement agencies, and the Australian Federal Police.
Major General/Dr. Nasser Salem Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi, Secretary General of the Office of His Highness’ Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, assumed the duties of chair from ICE Associate Deputy Assistant Director Michael Prado, who heads the agency’s Cyber Crimes Center and who will continue to represent ICE on the VGT board of managers.
“ICE has had the honor of chairing the VGT for the past three years, and in that time, we have enhanced the international relationships that are crucial to the VGT’s efforts to combat child sexual exploitation,” said Prado. “We now look to Major General Nasser and the UAE to help lead the VGT towards our common goal of making the world a safer place for all children.”
During its tenure as chair, ICE increased VGT membership with the addition of the Dutch National Police, the Korean National Police, the Colombian National Police, the Cybercrime Coordination Unit of Switzerland — and most recently the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group, which was formally welcomed into the VGT November 11.
New private members were also added during ICE’s tenure, including Kids Internet Safety Alliance (KINSA), NetClean, Telstra, International Justice Mission, Kik, and ZiuZ, and ICE hosted the first-ever private member meetings of the VGT.
In an effort to support collaboration and cooperation in operational activity, the VGT Board of Management, under ICE leadership, endorsed a capacity building project to assist the Salvadoran National Police with the creation of a cyber crimes center, focusing on child exploitation crimes. The VGT chair put together a project team to lead this effort, which supported the strategic mission of the VGT.
The VGT Strategic Direction document was also developed under ICE’s leadership. This document provided structure to the VGT objectives: preventing children from becoming victims of online sexual exploitation and other forms of transnational child sexual exploitation; protecting and safeguarding children who have been sexually exploited online and/or through other forms of transnational child sexual exploitation; supporting law enforcement agencies and to others in the investigation of child sexual exploitation offenders; and lifting the global standards in safeguarding children form sexual exploitation.
Major General/Dr. Nasser said that he was proud to represent the UAE as the new head of the VGT and added, “The United Arab Emirates has always believed that child exploitation is a global problem that requires a global solution. There is no country that can address this problem by itself. International cooperation is the only way to achieve results.”