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IFP: More preventative action needed to end child sexual exploitation

 

Hon Les Govender MPL
IFP KZN Spokesperson on Social Development,

 

The Inkatha Freedom Party calls for more preventative measures and tougher laws that will ensure that child sex offenders are stopped in their tracks.

This comes after sex offender; James Summers Prinsloo was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment by the Durban Magistrate Court on Wednesday for the creation and being in possession of child pornography. People who produce, distribute or possess these images must be dealt with severely. It will take a concerted effort from government, law enforcement and others to ensure the country’s children are protected. Section 28 of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution states that “every child has the right to basic nutrition, shelter, health care and social services, as well as the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation.

Whilst we welcome the sentence handed down, we believe that ensuring that children are protected from abuse, neglect, violence, exploitation and family separation requires an effective and functioning child protection system. Therefore, a necessary first step is to take stock of what is currently available, identify the gaps, and determine what support is needed to assist the government in mapping out and implementing effective systems to protect our children.

The IFP is of the view that combatting child online sexual abuse requires the collaboration of a broad variety of stakeholders. Educating children on the dangers they might encounter online, training prosecutors on the specifics of child-related cybercrime, reporting mechanisms for the population and for Internet Service Providers, effective blocking and taking down of child abuse material, international collaboration and prosecution mechanisms are just among a variety of approaches required to prevent and prosecute child online sexual abuse.

The IFP further believes that government must prepare and implement training programmes and information campaigns to increase awareness of online or digital safety aimed at children, young people, parents, teachers and the public at large.

Key line-function government departments, such as the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and the Ministry Communications and Telecommunications could lead the effort to design, develop and implement national digital safety programmes. Such programmes should be aimed at stimulating communication on this topic between children and caregivers, and ensuring that children’s digital activities are safe and in their best interests, while raising awareness on how to manage risks such as child pornography.

Now is the time for government, civil society organisations, the private sector, and other stakeholders to work proactively and collectively against child pornography, so that their actions can be preventative rather than reactive.

Civil society organisations, teacher’s associations, parents and caregivers must also be vigorously engaged to protect children and rid our society of this hidden scandal which is so damaging to this, and future generations of children.

The IFP urges the Department of Social Development to be at the forefront and drive a campaign that is aimed at educating and protecting one of the most vulnerable sectors of our community.

Contact:
Hon Les Govender MPL
IFP KZN Spokesperson on Social Development,
083 974 4894