ICMEC is a non-governmental, non-profit organization working to make the world a safer place for all children by eradicating child abduction, sexual abuse and exploitation. It is headquartered in the United States, with regional representation in Brazil and Singapore.
Since its inception in 1998, ICMEC has trained over 7,500 law enforcement officers from more than 115 countries; worked with governments in more than 100 countries to refine or implement laws against child pornography; increased global participation in International Missing Children’s Day; and created a 24-member Global Missing Children’s Network. The internet is a tool that has sadly been abused in some aspects, but banning technology is not the solution.
Since January 2011, I’ve been working as ICMEC’s policy director for Latin America and Caribbean to identify gaps in legislation and policies related to missing and abducted children, as well as on technology-facilitated child sexual abuse and exploitation, assisting with finding solutions to enhance the protection of children throughout the Latin American and Caribbean region.
Aside from being an integral part of ICMEC’s vision and mission, protecting children online is something I hold dear and near to my heart. One thing that particularly frustrates me is the demonization of technology or the search for simple one-size-fits-all solutions to child online protection. The internet, is a tool that has sadly been abused in some aspects, but banning technology is not the solution.
With that in mind, I’ve worked throughout the years to build upon ICMEC’s expertise and its regional contacts to promote the creation of alliances to enhance child online protection in a comprehensive way, having recently launched the Latin America Coalition Against Technology-Facilitated Child Sexual Abuse (CLAC).
The ICMEC has also supported several other initiatives in the region, and recently partnered with Unicef LACRO on the development of a series of regional events to bring awareness to the risks and benefits of the digital era. For me, it is critical to seek the balance between seizing all the benefits technology brings us, with a safer and responsible use of those tools.