Senate Tackles Child Pornography Today


One week after completing debate on the landmark Sexual Offences Bill, the Senate is scheduled to start debate on another very important piece of social legislation, the Child Pornography (Prevention) Bill, when it meets today (Friday, July 24).
The Bill, which was tabled by Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne, confronts the commercial sexual exploitation of children and recognises and treats child pornography as a criminal offence.
It notes that Jamaica currently has no law which specifically treats with, or recognises child pornography as a distinct criminal offence. However, it points out that international efforts to combat child pornography resulted in several international conventions, including the 1999 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Jamaica has signed and ratified, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, which Jamaica has signed but has not yet ratified.
These conventions require member states to take action to criminalise the production, possession, importation, exportation and distribution of child pornography.
“A decision has, therefore, been taken to enact legislation to make the production, possession, importation, exportation and distribution of child pornography a criminal offence in Jamaica,” the Bill’s Memorandum of Objects and Reasons concluded.
It provides for sentences of up to 20 years imprisonment, as well as fines of as much as $500,000. Crimes include: visual presentations with children engaged in sexual activities; audio recordings or written material that has, as its dominant characteristic, the description, presentation or representation, for a sexual purpose, sexual activity with a child; and any visual representation, audio recording or written material that advocates or counsels sexual activity with a child.

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