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ASK: Enact law to prevent online child sexual abuse

  • Published at 09:45 pm October 29th, 2018
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Photo: BIGSTOCK

ASK conducted a survey in Dhaka, Khulna, Satkhira, Chattagram and Rajshahi and found a total of 68 children had been abused online from 2011 to August 2018

Children in Bangladesh are at high risk of being sexually exploited online due to the absence of a law to check child abuse and to protect their private information on the internet, a leading human rights organization said on Monday. 

As well as demanding new legislation, Ain o Shalish Kendra (ASK) called for a “one-stop” service to be introduced to help child victims of sexual abuse identify criminals operating online.

The organization tabled the proposals during a discussion it hosted at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Monday. 

ASK conducted a survey in Dhaka, Khulna, Satkhira, Chattagram and Rajshahi and found a total of 68 children had been abused online from 2011 to August 2018.

However, the organization said preventing online sexual violence against children has become difficult as the Digital Security Act 2018 provides no definition for these types of cybercrimes.

To this end, the human rights body has asked the government to amend the Information Technology Law 2006 and the Pornography Control Act 2012.

It also said law enforcement agencies, judges, lawyers and government employees should be trained and awareness programs conducted. 

Furthermore, ASK said the investigation into such crimes should be conducted under the Children’s Act 2013 instead of under criminal law, while all cases should be tried either in the children's court or by forming a separate cyber tribunal for children. 

“The Law Commission is working to formulate a law to prevent online child sexual abuse under which pornographic images of children – circulated online or otherwise – will be treated as criminal offense,” said Tahsin Iftekhar, a joint district and sessions judge and a  senior research officer of the Law Commission. 

“The law may not totally stop but it can minimize such crimes. (Also) a new provision added to the Children’s Act 2013 says that if any crime related to children is committed, those must be sent to the children court.” 

The ASK survey also found most Bangladeshis are ignorant about online sexual abuse, while even law enforcement agencies and lawyers have very little knowledge about it.

“Such crimes will further increase in future as the internet can help to spread it rapidly,” Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mishuk Chakma, said. 

“Google and Facebook authorities  are not providing details of the criminals. The authorities concerned must make an agreement with them and other online services to provide details of criminals to combat online sexual abuse.”