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Abused Canadian child rescued after Web appeal

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 on Friday.

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.

 

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