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THOUSAND OAKS, California - Google chief Eric Schmidt declared war on international criminals Tuesday, vowing to harness technology to battle "illicit networks" around the world.
At a two-day summit including Interpol, government ministers and victims of forced labor and child slavery, Schmidt said the Internet can help fight traffickers of drugs, sex workers and organs.
International police body Interpol used the conference to unveil a pioneering initiative to crack down on trade in fake goods, using an app developed with the help of search giant Google.
"In a connected world, vulnerable people will be safer, trafficking victims can learn their rights, can find opportunities; organ harvesters can be named and brought to justice," Schmidt said.
"Connection protects us .. together we can use technology to protect the world," he told the "Illicit Networks: Forces in Opposition" summit in Thousand Oaks, north of Los Angeles.
Juan Pablo Escobar, the son of infamous former Colombian drug cartel leader Pablo Escobar, joined the conference via Skype.
"The moment I was the most scared was when I realized my country was using my father's violent methods to fight him," he told the summit, which will hear Wednesday from Alejandro Proire, interior minister of drug war-torn Mexico.
Indian former child slave Rani Hong, who is now a UN advisor on child trafficking, wept as she recounted her own story. "I was beaten, I was tortured, we are talking about slavery at seven years old," she said.
"I was treated as a piece of property to be used to make profit... I cried and I cried. They told me to shut up and they said I didn't have a word and nobody would listen to me."