More than 80 MEPs have called on the European Commission to ban so-called "paedo manuals," which include instructions on how to abuse children and are circulating on the Internet.
Belgian politician Hilde Vautmans led the initiative to send a letter to the Commission calling for such manuals to be included in new legislation to better tackle online and offline abuse against children, which will be proposed at the end of April.
"There should be no loopholes in the fight against online child abuse. Just as terrorist propaganda is banned today, there must be a ban on the production, possession or distribution of paedo-handbooks," Vautmans, who is co-chair of the Intergroup on Children's Rights in the European Parliament, said. "Every child we can protect from sexual abuse is a life saved."
@RenewEurope @openvld https://t.co/8r4ZUtrNDT — Hilde Vautmans (@hildevautmans) March 29, 2022
Tweet translation: "Hallucinatory that online manuals circulate for abusing children. I urge the EU Commission for a European ban on paedophile handbooks."
Germany and the Netherlands are the only two EU countries with legislation restricting the possession and distribution of paedophile instruction manuals on the Internet and the dark web.
Laws in other countries stipulate that there has to be footage of child abuse before action can be taken against a person, which is why MEPs are calling for the issue to be included in the new legislation, so it can be tackled at the European level.
- Delegate for children's rights denounces ‘catastrophic reception’ of Ukrainian refugees in Belgium
- Child abusers should be followed up for 15 years after sentence, justice minister says
"The EU cannot be left behind," the letter reads. "This is the right time to stand up for a ban on such documents and make the internet a better and safer place for children."
'Real threat' to children
Co-initiator on the initiative, Catharina Rinzema, stressed that online material from paedophiles poses a real threat to children in Europe.
"It is horrifying to think that instructions to abuse children can be freely distributed on the internet. I, therefore, call for a European ban on paedophile manuals. Children must be able to grow up safely throughout Europe," she said.
Besides Vautmans, Belgian MPs Assita Kanko (Flemish right-wing N-VA party), Frederique Ries (French-speaking liberal party MR) and Cindy Franssen (Christian democratic party CD&V) also signed the letter.