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South Africa
Human rights | Society

South Africa to fight child pornography

afrol News, 10 December - South Africans are shocked by a "radical rise" in child pornography and rape of children. According to government figures, more than 40 children are raped in South Africa - each day. The Ministry of Home Affairs now has decided to start fighting these tendencies and today launched a "child pornography hotline number".

The Child Protection Unit of the South African police has reported "the shocking information that there is a radical rise in the rates of violence against children in South Africa," manifested amongst other things in the rising cases of child pornography currently under investigation or before the courts, according to Malusi Gigaba, South Africa's Deputy Minister of Home Affairs.

Sexual child abuse has been increasingly focused in South Africa lately. Recently, a court in Cape Town sentenced to six full years, without the option of a fine, a paedophile who had completely abused his position of privilege as a teacher to engage children in obscene sexual activities.

For Deputy Minister Gigaba, this punishment did not seem enough. "Perhaps, among what we need to do is to campaign for the registration of anyone found guilty of being a paedophile or that they are never employed anywhere they will come in contact with children, as paedophiles cannot be converted," he said at the launch of a child pornography hotline number today.

Further, South Africa needed to engage in a united campaign against all pornography, especially on the national media, both print and electronic, especially the TV, the Deputy Minister held. "For those of you who have never seen an image of child pornography, be grateful that you have never and please keep it that way, for the image is too gruesome to the mind and never escapes your memory," Mr Gigaba said.

The children of South Africa need more protection against sexual crimes committed by adults, policy makers, police and media agree. The public was recently shocked by figures presented by the Safety and Security Ministry, which showed that during one year, a total of 15,857 children were reported to have been raped in South Africa. More than 40 children are raped each and every day.

This very high number only includes the cases that are indeed reported to the police. Analysts believe that the majority of child rapes are never registered. Further, only 22 percent of the registered cases end up with a conviction of the adult rapist.

In addition to this widespread sexual violence against the nation's children, South Africans have started realising that child pornography is becoming widespread in the country. "Obviously, we need to engage in a sustained campaign, involving schools, religious institutions, NGOs, the media, parents, teachers and children themselves to combat this dangerous crime," commented today Mr Gigaba.

The Ministry of Home Affairs promised its "commitment to fight violence against women and children." More and more police officers were now undergoing specialised training so that they deal sensitively with cases of violence against women and children, the Deputy Minister announced.

On the occasion of the launch of the Child Hotline Number, Mr Gigaba also announced that the Films and Publication Amendment Act had been amended to make the investigation and prosecution of child pornography offenders more effective. "The Act has taken radical steps to provide a broad definition of child pornography and to impose harsher sentences on the culprits," he said.

- In the event that we you stumble across child pornography images or know of a site that contains or advertises child pornography images, call the Hotline with that information, the Deputy Minister urged South Africans. The hotline's number is 0800 148 148.

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