IFP WELCOMES SENTENCE HANDED DOWN TO DURBAN MAN INVOLVED IN CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

 

Hon Les Govender MPL
IFP KZN Spokesperson on Social Development
08 4488787/083 9744 894

 

The IFP welcomes the 10 years imprisonment sentence handed down to a Hillary man who downloaded approximately 19 000 images and 1 000 videos depicting child pornography.

Gert Harmzen, 55, was arrested by Bellair police and the Provincial Family Violence, Child Protection, Sexual Offences and Serial and Electronic Crime Investigation (SECI) unit in June last year, after receiving a tip-off.

The images depict children whose innocence has been violated because there is a market for such images. This calls for more action to fight child pornography by punishing those who are involved. Making matters worse, the pursuers and their targets often meet on an ever-changing menu of social media platforms. As more individuals have easy access to technology, the number of predators will increase. One of the things we have found today is that wherever children are, predators will be lurking. Therefore, it is vitally important for parents and child minders to be alert and ensure the safety of their children.

The rapid development of information and communications technologies (ICTs) and the advent of the Internet have introduced an entirely new dimension to the sexual exploitation of children. We must act now to protect our children in the virtual world. All forms of violence against children are unacceptable as it is a direct assault on the inviolable and inherent dignity of every child.

The IFP therefore proposes that a comprehensive investigation be launched into best practice on access control systems to find the mechanisms that are best suited to South African conditions. We should then implement them vigorously with the assistance of the operators and owners of the various platforms.

Child sex offenders are very manipulative, convincing and persistent in their efforts to exploit children. They take advantage of the Internet and online tools to access, lure potential victims, produce child sexual abuse materials, upload and disseminate them. It is crucial to have support systems in place for children who are enduring the appalling impact of sexual exploitation and abuse both online and offline. Sexual exploitation of a child online is a gross violation of that child’s human rights.

If the government refuses to enforce existing laws, then it goes without saying that the door is left wide open for the outright dismissal of that law in practice. In turn, perpetrators are increasingly emboldened to abuse and exploit an ever-growing number of victims because they know no one is willing or able to do anything about it.
We also call on the Film and Publications Board to ensure that it takes a firm stand against child pornography as they have the jurisdiction to police the Internet.

Lastly, the IFP also calls on the courts to show no mercy to persons involved in child pornography and their names must be added on the child sex offenders register.

Contact:
Hon Les Govender MPL
IFP KZN Spokesperson on Social Development
08 4488787/083 9744 894