In Eastern Europe, the violent nature of criminal networks controlling prostitution and trafficking has made the work of ECPAT groups extremely difficult and dangerous. Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have witnessed the emergence of commercial sexual exploitation of children following the collapse of the Soviet Union and its consequences on their economies. It appears that much of the new child pornography circulating on the Internet comes from Eastern Europe, predominantly Russia.
Historically, groups in this region developed out of the concern that their nationals were traveling to Asia to abuse children and strong ties with Asian groups are still in place today. Preventing child sex tourism, supporting the ECPAT Network in less developed regions and countering trafficking in children are among the main activities of ECPAT groups in Western Europe. Europe leads the way in developing anti-child pornography laws and benefits from a strong network of Internet hotlines. Much attention is paid to law-enforcement issues and projects which bring together groups from countries affected by child trafficking – both destination and origin – to strengthen collaborative action.