U.S. agents are joining Canada, Britain, and Australia to form a global police unit that will help monitor the Internet for child molesters who seek victims online, reports USA Today. Representatives from each country met yesterday. Under the program, known as the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), agents from each nation will take turns monitoring a London-based website (www.virtualglobaltaskforce.com) that responds to reports from youths and others about suspected predators, says VGT Chairman Jim Gamble.
Investigators can immediately trace a suspect’s location through his Internet connection and ask a local police agency to investigate the case further or make an arrest. As authorities have done in anti-child-pornography programs, VGT investigators also will go undercover in chat rooms and on Web sites where pedophiles are likely to be. Youths and others can report suspicious conversations or contacts to the VGT’s site. Several popular chat sites feature the VGT’s icon, so people can link immediately to the site to file a report. The website fielded 2,000 reports in the first six months of 2006, more than 75 percent of which came from children.