• Implementing laws to save children

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    FR. SHAY CULLEN, SSC

    Convicted pedophiles in Australia on the National Child Offenders Register will be forbidden to travel abroad. Their passports will be cancelled, according to a proposed law. Thousands of children will be saved from sexual abuse by this promised legislation. This is a breakthrough commitment by the Australian government and a great example for other legislators around the world to follow.

    According to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, the proposed law will be introduced next month. It is a “world first,” and it certainly is a wake up call and challenge to other governments to introduce similar laws to stop child sex tourism that is rampant especially in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines.

    “Last year alone, almost 800 registered child sex offenders travelled overseas from Australia,” Bishop said.

    Many of the convicted pedophiles have traveled abroad without notifying the authorities and many are likely to commit the same offense and abuse children. Pedophilia is a condition without cure, according to some authorities.

    There are a lot of child sexual offenders in Australia. As many as 20,000 people who have been convicted and have been released from jail are on the register. Those policing the National Child Offender Register continue to monitor them because they are likely to travel abroad and endanger children.

    According to Bishop, 2,500 will be added to the list every year. Denying them passport will protect children abroad.

    Another positive development in the legal sphere is the shooting down by the Philippine congress of a proposal to lower the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 to nine. This is a big victory. It was the result of continuous publicity, much political lobbying, presentations of the psychological make-up of children to the legislators and international diplomatic pressure.

    This is one of the laws that President Rodrigo Duterte wanted enacted. He said the children had “criminal minds” and had to be punished. Called “The Punisher” when he ruled Davao City as mayor, the President is known for his harsh and iron-fisted crackdown on those suspected of wrongdoing, especially drug users and dealers.

    To stop or greatly reduce the horrible crime against children whose sexual abuse are shown live on the Internet for paying customers in foreign countries, the Philippines’ RA 9775 has to be implemented. The corruption surrounding the non-implementation of this law is staggering. It is a moral outrage.

    International bodies, agencies, individuals and governments must tap all available means to pressure the Philippine government to implement the anti-child pornography and anti-cyber sex laws. Internet petitions, email letters, lobbying at Philippine embassies around the world will bring the issue to the attention of the Philippine government.

    The impact of child abuse can last a lifetime for the victim. For a child to be raped and shown live on the Internet is a horrific and heinous crime. Those who allow it and are mandated to block it must be held guilty of child abuse by omission. There are thousands of victims.

    Child pornography is an easy source of money that relatives and parents sell their children with the help of criminals to cyber-sex dens. But the bigger criminals in government and in the Philippines telecommunications industry are those who do not stop it when they can.

    RA 9775 orders Internet service providers to install software to block the transmission of child porn images and live cyber-sex acts. But authorities and executives of telecommunications companies have ignored it. They seemed to have persuaded law enforcers to look the other way and allow them to pay a “fine.” This could be the greatest act of corruption ever. Stealing money is one thing but stealing the lives of little children is far worse and surely beyond forgiveness.

    There are allegations that some government officials have been “captured” or “bought off” so that they will not enforce the law passed in 2009. Former employees of the telecommunications companies are members of the government bodies supposed to enforce the law. Critics of these big phone and Internet companies accuse them of making money out of the dirty business of child abuse. They have not been investigated, charged or found guilty of any crime. It is time for anti-pornography non-government organizations to take legal action against the National Telecommunications Commission and their cronies in the telecommunications companies.

    We can all be advocates for child rights through our computers. Share this article with as many as you can and copy it and send it to concerned government agencies and embassies. People should be aware of the crime committed against children. More articles to share are available on www.preda.org. Let’s act and strike back for children.

    shaycullen@gmail.com

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