Interpol Widens Pedophile Search Appeals

Interpol has agreed to allow wider use of public appeals to track suspected pedophiles, after the method led to the arrest of a Canadian schoolteacher last month, an agency official said Tuesday.

Last month’s public appeal was made after German police unscrambled digitized swirls that obscured the face of a man depicted in about 200 Internet photos having sex with a dozen different boys between the ages of 6 and 12 in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Interpol posted the unscrambled images on its Web site and 11 days later, Christopher Paul Neil was identified and tracked down in Thailand.

Delegates to Interpol’s general assembly agreed in a closed-door session Monday to allow the international police agency to regularly seek public tips.

After Monday’s vote, “Interpol can (regularly) … put unknown child sex offenders into the public circle for identification when all other means have been exhausted,” said Kristin Kvigne, assistant director of Interpol’s division on people trafficking.

“It’s opening up for new cases to be done that way,” she said.

Interpol will be cautious about putting out images of suspected pedophiles, Kvigne said. She noted Neil’s was a relatively clear cut case, involving a “pattern of abuse” in which other children could have been put at risk.

She said that case “has brought attention to traveling sex offenders” and spurred an unknown number of other investigations — “a very positive outcome.”

“Perpetrators can try to hide behind the Internet, they can try to live anonymously,” said Kvigne. “But we are policing the Internet, and we will get them.”

Published in: on November 6, 2007 at 6:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

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