Sunday, January 19, 2014

Legarda: Use the New Trafficking Law to Prosecute Cyber Porn Offenders

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today stressed the need to make full use of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act to arrest and prosecute offenders of cyber pornography.

In her privilege speech, Legarda, principal sponsor of the said law, expressed alarm over recent headlines on cases of children being subjected to online pornography, some even by their own parents and guardians.

“Police authorities have already deemed cyber pornography as the top crime in the country today. The fact is already hard to take. What makes it even more unimaginable is that many of the victims of this high-tech form of illegal human trade are children. We need to put an end to these kinds of abuses,” she said.

The Senator explained that under the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, harboring a child for purposes of prostitution or production of pornographic materials is considered trafficking.

Furthermore, the crime is not plain trafficking but qualified trafficking when the offender is the parent, guardian or someone who exercises authority over the child. Any person found guilty of qualified trafficking shall serve life imprisonment.

Legarda added that The Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Law, a measure she likewise authored, also penalizes sexual acts, including prostitution, committed against a woman or child.

“We support the Department of Justice, as head of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, and the National Bureau of Investigation for the full and effective implementation of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. We raise the possibility of the Supreme Court creating special courts to expedite the prosecution of human trafficking cases especially those that involve children. We support a massive information and education campaign against trafficking and cyberporn,” Legarda said.

In a relation to the proliferation of cyber pornography incidences, the Senator filed a bill that would protect minors from accessing pornographic materials over the Internet.

Under Senate Bill No. 532, the Anti-Computer Pornography Act, acts such as transmitting or offering to transmit information containing indecent materials to a minor and providing access to transmission of said materials to a minor will be considered a crime.

“We need to curb cyber pornography and all forms of human trafficking. We need to work together to put an end to the illegal human trade. We need to beef up our efforts now and save the lives of the many innocent children who are hoping that soon they will be rescued from slavery and be able to tread on a new path for a brighter future,” Legarda concluded.

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