The UAE has welcomed the joining of Colombia to the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), to protect children from online sexual exploitation. Colombia was chosen after a vote from the participating delegation of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) during a meeting that was held recently in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Major General Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi, Secretary General of the Office of HH Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Chairman of the Higher Committee for Child Protection at the Ministry of Interior, Representative of the UAE at VGT; said that the accession of Colombia will play a major part in promoting the coordination and partnership to achieve the goals of the VGT.
He added, "We are looking forward to cooperating with Colombia and to exchanging the best practices in order to ensure children are protected from exploitation and abuse." He also pointed out that Colombia signed the joining documents and became a part of the VGT in an official ceremony held in Amsterdam. The ceremony was attended by the representatives of the member states, Eduardo Pizarro Leon Gomez, the Colombian ambassador to the Netherlands, and General William Ren? Salamanca Ramirez, Director of Special Service, Colombian National Police. Colombia is the first Latin American country and the latest member to join the VGT.
The Secretary General affirmed the keenness of the UAE to reflect the directives and vision of Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, to establish the UAE as one of the leading countries in the field of child protection. He stated that the UAE joined the VGT in 2010, and has since worked to redouble its efforts and fully comply with child protection in the UAE. The efforts made in the field of child protection have included: developing the necessary policies and strategies, raising the awareness of various sectors of society in the methods of preventing sexual and physical abuse, and investigating child abuse cases.
Colombia was formally welcomed by Ian Quinn, VGT Chair, and head of the Cyber Crimes Center for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), who said, "I’m proud to welcome Colombia to the VGT, and I look forward to their contributions in helping us to combat this global problem." The MoI’s delegation attended the periodic meeting organized by the VGT in Amsterdam this year, discussing the topic of "fighting sexual exploitation crimes against children." Major Dr. Mohammed Khalifa Al Ali noted that the Child Protection Centre at the Ministry of Interior said that the presence of the MoI’s delegation in the conference enabled the participants to recognize the various global challenges which pose a threat to children. It also helped to review the best practices and methods used to fight such challenges, and to promote the abilities of the MoI to set solutions and initiatives to ensure children protection and safety - which is the main priority of the ministry.
The Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) is 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. The VGT continues to utilize its success as a base to expand its membership and further the efforts worldwide. Since its inception in 2003, it has strived to positively impact the cooperation between countries in the field of child protection. Its major achievements have included the dismantling of international networks of sexual child exploitation, as well as its efforts in coordinating online investigations, exchanging and developing security information, targeting sex offenders, and other procedures to protect children from abuse.