Profits made by peddlers of child sex abuse images are being targeted by a pan-European alliance.
The European Financial Coalition brings together payment firms, law enforcement agencies and child protection groups to disrupt commerce in the images. By tracking cash made by sites selling abuse images, investigators hope to stop the trade and find abusers.
Backers include Mastercard, Visa, Paypal and UK's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). Funded by the European Commission, the coalition is intended to serve as a "stark warning" to those involved in the sale and distribution of child sex images.
"It is a reality that the rapid growth of the internet has opened up a market for images of child abuse," said EC vice president Jacques Barrot in a statement. "The European Financial Coalition (EFC) will help identify and protect victims of this horrific crime by following the money trail that takes the police to the offender," he said.