Vital new alliance welcomed as Russia and South Africa join forces with the INHOPE network in the fight against online child sex abuse images.

The INHOPE network of Internet Hotlines convened a special session in Luxembourg which has resulted in a major boost in the fight against illegal content on the Internet, with the membership of three new Hotlines from Russia and South Africa.

The expansion of the network to 35 Hotlines in 31 countries around the globe has increased the ability to remove child sex abuse images from the Internet and in consequence help to protect the children behind the images. Illegal activity on the Internet is a cross border problem that no organisation can effectively tackle alone.

The year 2009 marks the ten-year anniversary of INHOPE. A Hotline is where the general public can report illegal Internet content, primarily child sexual abuse images. To encourage new Hotline initiatives worldwide, INHOPE, in cooperation with the EC has been working to prioritise countries where illegal material can potentially be hosted or produced and countries which are deemed to be important in the fight against illegal and harmful material online.

Hotlines have proven to be an effective first line of defence against illegal content online and in the fight against online predators Over the past ten years the outreach of INHOPE has evolved into a global network of Hotlines, providing a means to pass the relevant information on illegal content, without delay, to be handled in the country where the site is hosted.