Abused Canadian child rescued after Web appeal
Sat Jan 6, 11:45 AM (from Yahoo.ca News)
MONTREAL (AFP) - A sexually abused Canadian child has been placed under protection after sending an appeal for help over the Internet to an Australian website, Canadian police said.
The child used the Google search engine to send a message to the website for children, pleading for help, and the e-mail was forwarded to local police, spokeswoman Julie Gagnon of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told AFP.
The child typed in "kids help," found the Australian site offering online help to children and "sent a message saying 'this is what is happening to me, please help me so it doesn't happen any more,'" according to another spokeswoman, Corporal Lana Prosper.
The police withheld the identity and age of the child, but broadcaster CBC reported the victim was a girl living in New Brunswick province.
Police in Queensland, Australia, had alerted the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's Innocent Images International Task Force in Washington.
The US outfit determined the origin of the appeal and informed Canada's National Child Exploitation Co-ordination Centre (NCECC).
The Canadian authorities were able to trace the child to an address with help from Internet provider Bell Aliant and alert local police, Gagnon said.
She said that the child had been placed under protection and that an investigation was underway.
"Bell Aliant's cooperation helped us to locate this child and ensure that (the child) was quickly removed from the harmful environment," said Superintendent Earla-Kim McColl, Officer in Charge of the NCECC.
"This is an example of how children can be saved when ISPs and law enforcement work together."
"The most important factor to realize ... especially for children in today's society, is that there is help out there for them," said Prosper.
The Queensland-based Kids Help Line describes itself as Australia's only 24-hour telephone and online counselling service aimed at children aged 5-18.
Its website says counsellors respond to more than 10,000 calls each week about issues ranging from bullying to sexual abuse, homelessness and substance abuse.
The service, which is an initiative of the Catholic De La Salle Brothers, declined to comment on the case involving the Canadian child, citing client confidentiality.
The charity's annual report said it had received more than 640,000 contacts in 2005, more than 31,000 of them online. It said the proportion of online contacts had increased dramatically since the service was introduced in 2000.
The report did not give any data on how many of the contacts were made from children outside Australia.
Amazing. Just amazing. That little girl will always remember how she was helped by strangers.