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[FYI] "Child sex abuse reaches emergency levels"

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                   01/19/99- Updated 01:17 AM ET

                   Child sex abuse reaches emergency levels

                   By Marilyn August, The Associated Press

                   PARIS - The number of sexually abused children has
                   risen to emergency levels, and photos of them are
                   finding their way increasingly on to computer
                   screens, experts said Monday at a U.N. conference
                   on pedophilia and the Internet. 

                   ''The development of pedophilia on the Internet
                   constitutes a 'cybercrime,''' said Federico Mayor,
                   director general of the U.N. Educational,
                   Scientific and Cultural Organization. 

                   Speaking to 300 experts from 40 countries, Mayor
                   called for a ''global electronic watchdog network''
                   to combat online pedophilia and child prostitution.

                   Experts say there is insufficient data on the
                   number of abused children, especially since the
                   definition of such abuse varies widely from country
                   to country. 

                   ''We estimate that the number is at an emergency
                   level - especially since there's a tragic lack of
                   protection available to children at risk,'' said
                   Kimberly Svevo, executive director of the
                   Chicago-based International Society for Prevention
                   of Child Abuse and Neglect. 


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