CE to help Ukraine fight sexual exploitation of children


Ukraine has one of the worst problems in Europe for exploitation of children in the porn industry, with the reasons being economic and social problems, as well as corruption. The Council of Europe has begun a programme to assist the country in fighting cybercrime and overcoming sexual exploitation of children. The project envisages changes to legislation, the creation of mechanisms for identifying and stopping porn industry setups, as well as improving the system for protecting children’s rights.

Throughout all the Internet networks available in Ukraine, there are hundreds of webpages with child pornography. Anonymous surveys suggest that around one adolescent in ten has experienced sexual approaches from adults, including attempts to draw them into the porn industry.

According to ECPAT figures, this year the southern regions of Ukraine and Kyiv had one of the highest figures for child sexual exploitation in Ukraine. According to Marko Skarlatti from ECPAT, the problem has economic and social roots.

Old laws make it hard to catch the culprits

Over 800 criminal investigations have been initiated in Ukraine over the last year for the production and circulation of pornography although the number of such crimes is, in fact, much higher. The problems lies in inadequate mechanisms for uncovering cybercrimes and flaws in legislation, Kateryna Levchenko, Adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs, explains.

“Article 301 of the Criminal Code “Preparing and circulating pornographic production” is very difficult to apply – it’s hard to prove involvement. Furthermore, our legislation lacks a clear differentiation between child pornography and pornography in general”.

Please see and the links below for the last pitiful attempt by Ukraine’s legislators to improve this legislation.  The amendments introduced, which the President refused to veto made possession of any pornography illegal, but only if this was for the purpose of sale or circulation.  This, of course, means that some child pornography does not fall within the Criminal Code.

The CE “TRES” Project is aimed at improving Ukrainian legislation on protection of children, introducing control over pornography in the Internet and developing a general strategy of defence of children.

According to TRES representative Monika Platek one of the problems which must be overcome in order to fight such crime is corruption, seen for example, in the cooperation of some police officers and members of the authorities with the porn industry.  According to human rights activists Oleksandr Kryvenko there are even deputies who have made their money from the porn business. He did not however give specific names.

In order to combat cybercrime and sexual exploitation of children, a working group has been formed with members of the Ministries for Youth and Sport, Internal Affairs and Justice, as well as international experts. During the year their task will be to study world experience and draw up amendments to legislation.

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