Thailand Make Moves To Fight Child Exploitation

Permanent secretary for justice Jarun Pukditanakul has instructed the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to expand its role to begin combating child exploitation, especially through pornography and transnational organised crime.

He said child exploitation was on the increase and that criminals behind child pornography had become more sophisticated. He said crimes were carried out using hi-tech media and global communications through transnational criminal networks.

"The DSI must have a role in fighting these crimes by cooperating and setting the scope of work with the National Police Bureau," said Mr Jarun during a seminar with DSI officials recently.

He said the DSI was better equipped to handle challenging issues such as transnational pornography distribution and that other police agencies might be over-stretched with existing tasks.

However, Mr Jarun also admitted that existing Thai legislation remains too weak to cope with child exploitation.

The Porn Media law for example does not separate child pornography from general pornographic crimes. Even the criminal law fails to punish a person found in possession of child pornography, unless they distribute or benefit from it.

"In some foreign countries, child pornography is considered as dangerous as drugs and possessing it is absolutely illegal because this kind of media can stimulate people's sexual desires for children," said Mr Jarun.
Story Continues Below

There was some good news however, as the cabinet has already approved a new bill for the suppression of tempting media, in which child pornography is categorised as dangerous.

"The bill was debated vigorously in the cabinet. Those opposing it were worried about some possible impacts on the public, but the majority were supportive. The prime minister has approved it in principle," he said.

The bill has been sent to the Council of State for further consideration but Mr Jarun said he could not tell when it would be passed on to the National Legislative Assembly for endorsement.

However, once the bill is endorsed, along with the human trafficking bill, both laws will be important tools enabling the DSI to better tackle transnational organised crime networks.

"Besides harsher penalties, what's more important is that both laws will improve efficiency in tracing and arresting criminals," he said.
Story Continues Below

Mr Jarun said the current criminal justice system was outdated and that many state officials still view prostitutes as if they were criminals.

"We must erase that kind of prejudice. Prostitutes are not criminals, but they are rather the victims of injustice. Those who reap the benefits from them are the criminals," he said.

He said he wanted the DSI to try a new approach by winning the trust of trafficked women, convincing them to become witnesses and then tracing back the origins of organised crime.

No comments: