Children’s Bill must become law

In the meantime, the police will continue to work with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to sensitise persons against such crimes, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Glen Hackett said.

Speaking last week at the Police Service’s Victims and Witness Support Unit conference at the Hyatt Regency, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, Hackett stressed he was not saying child pornography does not exist in this country, but that the Police are not aware of any cases.

He said the last case that came to the police’s attention was 20 years ago. “But rest assured, if it comes to our attention we would deal with it via the Children’s Bill which unfortunately has not yet been enacted. Hopefully it will be in 2013, so we can get some more teeth with respect to legislation to tackle child pornography and other crimes against children. This “teeth” is important when it comes to getting successful prosecution of persons charged for crimes within the Act,” stated ACP Hackett.

He noted that child pornography is a worldwide scourge and he would like to have the legislation in place to deal with it when it arises rather than waiting and having cases identified, but no law on which to act against criminals.

Hackett also pointed out that child abuse is not pornography as pornography is a term used for adults engaging in consensual sexual acts distributed to the general public for their sexual pleasure. Child abuse images, on the other hand, are documented evidence of a crime in progress. This involves a child or children who cannot legally consent to being the subject of pornography and as such are deemed to be victims of sexual abuse.

Hackett also indicated, “The Ministry of National Security established an inter-ministerial committee to “actively address the issues of cyber crime security. This committee has also been mandated to draft a Cyber Crime Bill and a National Policy that speaks to cyber crime.”

Cyber Crimes include child pornography, cyber bullying, stalking, identification theft, ATM shimming, social Engineering (Nigerian Scams), website defacement, hacking extortion and blackmail.

Hackett noted that present legislation included the Computer Misuse Act (Unauthorised Access), the Forgery Act (Identification Theft), Offences Against the Person Act (Cyber-bullying), Children Act (Child pornography), Interception of Communication Act (Unauthorised Interceptions) and the Data Protection Act.


"Children’s Bill must become law"

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