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02.06.2009

94.2% of Ukrainians support penalties for possession and use of child pornography

   

Ukraine should add the concept of “child pornography” to its normative legal base and impose punishments for its possession. In Article 301 of the Criminal Code which covers crimes linked with the sale, circulation etc of pornography, the phrase “compulsion with respect to minors” should be changed to “involving minors”. These were some of the proposals made on 2 June by representatives of ECPAT International (which fights against all forms of sexual exploitation of children) and the human rights centre “La Strada – Ukraine”. They were presenting the results of a study of the prevalence of child pornography in Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.

In the last two years three draft laws have been tabled on tightening penalties against child pornography: one by the Ministry of Justice (passed by the Cabinet of Ministers), and by National Deputies Gennady Moskal and Pavlo Unhuryan, however none has yet been passed by the Verkhovna Rada.

 

The following table compares criminal liability for the possession, preparation and circulation of child pornography in CIS countries

 

 

Belarus

Moldova

Russia

Ukraine

Possession

none

none

none

none

Preparation

yes

yes

yes

yes

Circulation

none

yes

yes

unclear

Punishment

Up to 5 years for involving minors in the preparation of pornography

 

1 year imprisonment for preparing pornography

Up to 3 years for preparation, circulation, import and export, offer, sale, exchange, use or possession of child pornography

6-8 years

3-7 years

 

In 2008 La Strada – Ukraine and the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology carried out a survey of public opinion.  The results showed that 87% of respondents agreed that child pornography was harmful. The overwhelming majority (93.8%) believe that it should be prohibited. At the same time, 93.7% of people in Ukraine agree that pornography in general should be banned, although according to figures from one Ukrainian Internet portal, more than 30 thousand users visit porn sites each day.

94.2% of Ukrainians are in favour of bringing in punishment for possession and use of child pornography, while 87.4% agree that there should be harsher penalties for use than presently allowed for in Ukrainian legislation.

La Strada – Ukraine does see some positive moves in the fight against child pornography. There is, first of all, the appointment of two specialists on Internet criminal activities in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and over 40 specialists in the regions. They point to the first prominent case involving a child porn studio “+/- 13” in Odessa (although somebody tipped off the owners who managed to flee abroad and escape justice). Thirdly, there was the closure of the Internet resource “Infostore” on 10 December 2008, on which 80% of the material was pirated and pornographic, with some involving children from 5-12 years.

The issue of Internet provider liability for content on their servers remains unresolved. The human rights activists recommend that the providers note and check whether clients give accurate information, and also sign a code of ethics and form mechanisms for informing the law enforcement agencies about child pornography found, for example, via telephone hotlines.

Telekritika

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