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14.03.2008

Ukraine provides easy prey for paedophiles

   

Law enforcement agencies say that they identify cases involving sexual abuse of children and young people virtually everyday, however proving the crime and getting the perpetrators behind bars are difficult because of failings in legislation.

Specialists say that there are several reasons why paedophile crimes flourish in Ukraine. These include the social situation people are in, the lack of preventive work, problems with the Criminal Code and even modern technology.

Victims are most often homeless children, those who’ve run away from home or whose parents aren’t looking after them.  In 2007 five paedophiles aged between 50 and 70 were detained in Kerch. The police say that those detained did not know each and each acted alone. The men took kids in their cars to isolated places and gave them food as “payment”. The information fills four pages, yet legislation works in favour of the paedophiles.

“This person got 10 years in a first instance court which was reduced to six in the court of appeal. The lawyers say that he be released in three years. The extenuating circumstances are his considerable age, many illnesses, a Soviet honour and that he does not pose a risk to the public”. Head of a civic organization Svitlana Dyadchenko explains. She says that it is quite difficult to collect evidence and bring the investigation to its logical end.  Quite often the crimes result in the article “sexual corruption of children” carrying a three-year restriction of liberty sentence.

The police agree that the penalties for paedophilia are too low and that the relevant section of the Criminal Code requires considerable changes.  

Most of the paedophiles claim that they are helping the children.

The police say that the hardest situations to fight are those of abuse by parents. It is not talked about within the family, and the police normally find out if somebody else reports it.

Specialists stress that until the proper changes are made to the Family and Criminal Codes, and the Convention for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, minors need to at least know basic rules of safety and also how to say no in time.

Euoropol has called on Ukraine to fight child pornography. According to representative of Euoropol M. Gagemayer, while in the EU the fight against child pornography is top priority, there is a lack of interest in the problem from the authorities on fighting such crimes.

In November 2007 Europol uncovered a child pornography ring using 23 children, of whom 21 were from Ukraine.

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