Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft
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.