LOS ANGELES - Joan Irvine, executive director of the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection, traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to participate in the semiannual meeting of the Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography.
On the agenda was a discussion of accomplishments and challenges with speakers from PayPal, MasterCard, Global Payments Direct and Microsoft. Also on hand was a National Center for Missing & Exploited Children representative who helped outline the priorities for 2008.
The Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography is a group of financial institutions, Internet industry leaders and child-protection agencies from throughout the world working to eliminate commercial child pornography. Founding members of the coalition include AOL, American Express, Bank of America, Chase, Citigroup, Discover, Visa, Wells Fargo and Yahoo, among others. ASACP has been an active member of the coalition and its Analytics Working Group since the coalition's inception in early 2006.
"ASACP's online [child pornography] reporting hotline has been around for over a decade, and we have learned a lot; therefore, we always have a lot to contribute," Irvine said. "I am always warmly greeted with appreciation for ASACP's diligent reporting to the coalition and am reminded of the absolute need to work together as a community if we are to stop the sexual exploitation of children. Of course, our ability to contribute to this process is due to the support of the adult-entertainment industry, and I make sure this is known to all involved."
While in Washington, Irvine also met with senior staff members from the offices of Sen. John McCain, Rep. Linda Sanchez and Rep. Melissa Bean.
Irvine commended Bean's focus on educating parents on how to protect their children, but expressed concern that McCain's SAFE Act of 2007 would overburden small hosting companies and Internet-service providers with more legal requirements related to how they should monitor for child pornography.
Sanchez, on the other hand, is working on legislation that would make it easier to report child pornography, Irvine said.
In December, Irvine will return to Washington to attend the annual conference of the Family Online Safety Institute, which formerly was known as the Internet Content Rating Association. Irvine said she plans to inform attendees about the adult industry's support for the development of the Restricted to Adults (RTA) website label/meta-tag.