Child porn law update emboldens NGO

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Amendments made late last year to the Criminal Code have given a leading anti-sexual exploitation NGO hope in its fight against child trafficking and pornography.

The Safeguard Kids Foundation has been working since 2012 to raise the awareness of child and sexual abuse, which long has been a problem in Thailand.

The advocates had been pushing the government to enact stricter penalties for possession and distribution of child pornography and, on Dec. 7, the National Legislative Assembly passed amendments that the group believes put real teeth into the law.

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“The new Thai law will be strictly enforced,” the SafeguardKids.org website proclaims on its home page. < http://safeguardkids.org/en/ >

Unlike the old law, which merely stated it was illegal to possess or trade “obscene” material without actually defining obscenity, Criminal Code Amendments No. 24 specifically outlaws possession and accessing of child pornography and mandates arrest and prosecution.

Production, dissemination and trading of the child porn carries a jail sentence of three to 10 years, while forwarding it is punishable by a maximum seven years in prison and possession a maximum five years.

Safeguard Kids has partnered with various organizations to publicize the issue on television, radio, in print and online.

The group also recently participated in the Global Child Forum on Southeast Asia in Kuala Lumpur. Present was HM King Carl Gustav of Sweden and the Queen who presided over the objectives of the forum.

The NGO says unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death to children in the United States. Throughout the world, almost 1 million children die of injuries each year.

“When we talk about preventing injuries, we’re not talking about skinned knees, bruised shins and scraped elbows. Those are the telltale signs of a curious child, exploring the world, pushing limits and seeking adventure. But there are things we can all do to ensure that those bumps and bruises don’t turn into more disabling injuries and deaths,” the group said in a statement.

The NGO’s objectives are to prevent child abuse, push policies and law enforcement to punish those involved in sexual abuse and pornography of children in Thailand, prevent bail for those involved in child/sex abuse in Thailand, raise awareness of the issues and how important it is to solve problems, urge the government to include law enforcement in child protection policies, and join various foundations/charity organizations to seek similar objectives.