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Malaysia ranks among worst nations in Asean for child porn

No specific child porn laws now, M'sian police to draft anti-grooming law

Malaysia ranks among the top countries in Asean for possession and distribution of child pornography.

This information was shared by international police, said Bukit Aman's head of Sexual Investigation Unit (D11) Deputy Superintendent Tan Gee Soon.

She said Malaysia did not have specific laws that made possession of child pornography an offence, The Star reported.

"However, we have Section 292 of the Penal Code and Section 5 of the Film Censorship Act to act against those with pornographic images and films respectively," Supt Tan told reporters after attending the #ReplyForAll-MY town hall session organised by R.AGE, Digi, WOMEN:girls and Unicef on Saturday.

Asked whether police would seek to amend Section 292 which only deals with the sale and distribution of obscene material, Supt Tan, a panellist at the session, replied that the police are looking into it.

She also said her unit had drafted a proposal for an anti-grooming law. She did not elaborate on the proposal except to say it was modelled after Singapore's anti-grooming law.

Other panellists included Ms Marie Laure Lemineur, head of Sexual Exploi­ta­tion Online Programme of ECPAT, an international organisation fighting to end the sexual exploitation of children worldwide.

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According to Ms Lemineur, the top country for possession of child pornography is the United States, followed by the Netherlands.

She also said that technology enabled children to be exploited on a bigger scale but it was "human behaviour which decides to sexually exploit a child".

She advised parents to educate their children on the dangers online and in the real world and to take steps to avoid them.

"Don't think because you are not connected, you are safe from being exposed to risk."

Ms Lemineur said child pornography and grooming should be tac­kled in a holistic manner with the cooperation of everyone, and not just be left to police or lawmakers.

She said laws to counter sexual grooming could easily be drafted based on existing international and regional standards.

"It's a matter of political will."

Unicef representative to Malaysia Marianne Clark-Hattingh said that as a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and its Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, Malaysia has an obligation to introduce measures to protect all children below 18 from sexual abuse, including Internet- related abuse.

"One such measure is to make cyber-sexual grooming an offence. With the right laws in place, law enforcement agencies will have the powers they need to investigate child sexual exploitation, including cyber-sexual grooming, pursue offenders, and identify and protect victims," she said.

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