Bulgaria Crime Head Warns of Increased Online Pedophile Activity

Crime | February 8, 2010, Monday // 17:43|  views

Speaking at an open session on Internet safety, Yavor Kolev, head of the Computer Crimes department, has warned youngsters of the increasing online activities of pedophiles. Photo by BGNES

Increasing numbers of Bulgarian children and youngsters are being targeted online by pedophiles, the Head of the Computer Crimes Department has warned on Monday.

Yavor Kolev, whose specialized department is part of the Main Directorate for Combating organized Crime (GDBOP), gave the warning at an open session on internet Safety.

According to Kolev, children aged between 10 and 13 years who publish their pictures on dating sites are the most vulnerable group.

Some 40% of teenagers admit to meeting in person with people they have first encountered online, according to a survey by the National Center for Public Opinion Research.

"Our rules for safe use of the internet should align with those adopted in Europe and the United States," stated Yavor Kolev. "One way is to request definite clear evidence that it is for adults, by requesting credit card details.

"There is a constant increase in the number of cases of victimized children," Kolev added, saying that: "We get seven or eight months alerts about children that, in one way or another, have become subject to malign interest. Their parents are worried and are turning to us."

According to the latest UNICEF report, approximately 750 000 active pedophiles seek their victims on the web at any one time, said the coordinator of the National Center for Safe internet, Georgi Apostolov.

"This is a very scary figure, what is more it is only approximate. This is based on data collected from existing internet hotlines, the actual number may be higher," said Apostolov.

"Attacks on minors and the under-aged in the network become more and more aggressive," admitted 16-year-old Yoanna Hristova, a participant at the meeting.

"I have received a message such as: "You're very cool, come to see me, give me your Skype" and so on. I have not given any personal information, nor am responding to such messages. The only persons with whom I am in contact in such sites, are my friends," she added.

"The key is to not publish such provocative images bordering on pornography; adults should not be able to lead chats with children, at least on their age profile," concluded Kolev.

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Tags: pedophile, Internet safety, Computer Crimes Department, Yavor Kolev, Skype, dating services, UNICEF


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