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Policing porn - Local cops finding it difficult to stop the circulation of child pornography

Published:Sunday | July 6, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Senior Superintendent Clifford Chambers

 Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter

Several Jamaicans continue to circulate pornographic images of children despite repeated warnings that this is a criminal act. And, to compound the problem, the police are struggling to catch these perverts.

Under the Child Pornography (Prevention) Act, a person who knowingly distributes, produces, advertises, imports or exports child pornography commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 years, or both.

Persons who circulate pornographic images of adults without their consent are also breaching the law, but the police note that they need a complainant before action can be taken in these cases.

"We have the capacity and expertise to track down persons who post pornographic material on the Web. We will arrest and prosecute where possible, but we usual need a complainant," head of the police's Organised Crime Investigation Division (OCID), Senior Superintendent Clifford Chambers, told The Sunday Gleaner.

"But if the person in the video is a child, no complainant is needed as consent cannot be given by a minor," added Chambers.

The OCID head was responding to concerns about a local group on the social media site Facebook. The Facebook group dubbed 'DAY AND NIGHT (A BAY VYBZ INNA THIS)' features a heavy dose of pornographic material with child porn figuring prominently.

EASILY ACCESSED

Although the group is private, it can easily be accessed by anyone, including minors and paedophiles, as all it takes is for a request to be sent to the group's administrator and access is granted with no questions asked.

One video recently posted to the page shows a student of a local high school engaged in an expletive-laced sexual act with a man in the trunk of a taxicab. This video is being shared widely as scores of persons pass it on using their smartphones.

For Chambers, this reflects the strides made in technology as more and more persons get access to the Internet and not necessarily an increase in the number of pornographic videos being created.

"There is no real evidence to say that there is an increase in these activities, but we can say that they are coming to the fore more," argued Chambers.

"We are not getting an increase in cyberextortion, so based on that, we are saying that there is not necessarily an increase in those crimes. It is just that the information is coming out there more now.

"It is showing up more now, and that has to do with the ease with which persons can hack into people's computers, the ease with which people can sync other people's information, and more so persons are promulgating it to get back at the person."

According to Chambers, OCID has discovered that most of the pornographic material that goes viral, even those involving schoolchildren, originate from adults' electronic devices.

"There are more pornographic clips being found on an adult's phone than on a child's phone," Chambers said.

"But what you will find is that a pervert male will have hundreds of these clips on his phone, but there might be one or two of particular schoolgirls. What may go viral is the one or two of that particular schoolgirl, but the hundreds of other pornographic clips will not go viral. It is the ones of juveniles or schoolchildren or so on, because that seems to be the hot topic; that seems to be the taboo."

WATCHDOGS IN CYBERSPACE

Chambers said OCID has watchdogs that comb the Internet for inappropriate content, but in most instances, it is made aware of most of these videos and photos when reports are made.

"Persons who are found with explicitly sexual content of a person who appears to be underage immediately become a person of interest in an investigation to determine if they are having sex with children, and this is immediately turned over to CISOCA (Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse) for further investigation," Chambers revealed.

He was supported by head of CISOCA, Deputy Superintendent Veronica Gilzeane, who told The Sunday Gleaner that while she has noticed an increase in the number of children featuring in porn videos, many of these youngsters are over 16 years old and fall outside of the jurisdiction of her team.

"I am noticing that trend [of youngsters being involved in porn], and when we engage them, sometimes we hear people say that it is the amount of hits they can get and they are like a movie star," shared Gilzeane.

"We need our children and some adults to understand that sex comes with responsibility, and I am not sure why they think the whole world needs to see what they are doing."

ryon.jones@gleanerjm.com

Facebook not shutting down Jamaican porn page

The operators of the popular social media network Facebook have decided not to shut down the Jamaican page 'DAY AND NIGHT (A BAY VYBZ INNA THIS)' despite indications that it is posting videos of children involved in sexual activities.

The administrators of the page recently posted a video of a student of a local secondary school having sex with an adult male in a motor car, among other pornographic material.

But when contacted last week, Facebook said it deemed nothing to be wrong with the page 'DAY AND NIGHT (A BAY VYBZ INNA THIS)' despite it being laced with pornographic material.

"Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the group you reported for containing nudity and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards," said the administrators of the social network, which was launched in 2004.