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Global leaders call for crackdown on Internet porn, crime

By Suna Erdem
(Reuters)

MILAN -- Justice and interior ministers from the world's leading industrialized nations on Tuesday urged a global crackdown against crime and child pornography on the Internet.

The Group of Eight ministers said while the Internet had brought many benefits, the rise of hi-tech crime was worrying.

``We urge that a solution be found to locate and identify criminals who use network communications for illegal purposes,'' said a final statement after their meeting in Milan.

``We stress in particular the alarming expansion of child sexual exploitation...online,'' the statement said.

Japanese parliamentarians say their country is among the largest markets for child pornography, with a large chunk of Internet pornography produced there.

The G8 ministers welcomed Japan's initiative to review the problem and to host the second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Yokohama in December.

The ministers expressed support for the Lyon group of experts on transnational organized crime, set up by the G8 in 1996 to cooperate against high-tech crime.

They also urged the finalization of a draft Council of Europe convention on cyber crime. The Council has been working for more than a decade on the treaty, which U.S. civil liberties groups have criticized as infringing individual privacy.

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The group urged experts to set up a G8 database to allow countries to pool their resources on fighting crime on the Internet, which has opened borders and opportunities for criminal groups such as the Sicilian Mafia.

The ministers also discussed illegal migration, human trafficking and xenophobia.

Italian Interior Minister Enzo Bianco said the EU needed a common border police to combat illegal immigration and called for more cooperation with the migrants' home countries and transit countries.

Immigration, racism and xenophobia have become increasingly emotive issues as the rise of the far right in Europe sits uncomfortably with waves of would-be immigrants fleeing oppression or seeking a better life.

The Milan meeting -- which also touched on drug trafficking and money laundering -- urged the implementation of an ambitious U.N. treaty against organized crime signed in Palermo last year.

The G8 -- Russia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States -- holds a summit in Genoa in July.

. . . watch for more stories coming soon  

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