People found in possession of, or sharing child pornography can be criminally charged and face hefty penalties if convicted. File picture: Independent Media
Durban – People found in possession of, or sharing child pornography can be criminally charged and face hefty penalties if convicted.

This is according to Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, national police spokesperson, who was responding to concerns over the rising number of explicit videos of children that had gone viral recently.

A woman, who asked not to be named, said she had seen a video depicting a man having sexual intercourse with an infant.

The video is believed to be circulating in the Jacobs area, south of Durban.

“The video was shown to me by the tea lady and you can clearly see the man and child’s face in it. I was horrified. I told this woman what could happen to her if police knew about this video. She deleted it from her phone,” the woman said.

In another recent case, a teenager filmed herself engaging in a sexual act and reportedly sent it to her boyfriend. The video has gone viral.

Naidoo said police had arrested 11 people in connection with explicit videos.

“Much has been said about our project, Cloud 9. In the latest outcome in court, the accused was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, which is a landmark ruling, setting a precedent. Previously, accused were being sentenced to suspended jail terms,” Naidoo said.

He said if a person downloaded or received material relating to child porn and kept it on their phone, they would face a charge of being in possession of pornographic material.

The police have a specialised cyber crimes unit and also incorporate the SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit, when dealing with these crimes.

Naidoo urged parents to closely monitor the websites that their children log on to.

“Parents must also be aware of social media sites because it is on these platforms where children can be easily lured by predators.”

Adeshini Naicker, operations director at Childline KZN, said they had dealt with many cases where girls were filmed and bullied as a result.

“They become traumatised when they realise the power of social media. They do not want to go back to school or leave their own home. Some contemplate suicide rather than face the world again."

“Children are vulnerable and believe the video or nude photo is being sent to a person who loves them and one whom they trust,” said Naicker.

Sabrina Maingard, who runs a beauty and etiquette boot camp for young girls, said children often did not understand that these videos harmed their reputations, sometimes their careers later.

“As a woman who seeks to empower young girls, I think that in general society does lose respect for these girls."

“Whatever you put out into the cyber universe will always have a footprint and can never be removed entirely. These girls are at an age when they do not fully comprehend the ramifications of their actions in the long-term perspective."

“Therefore in the years to come, once their careers have taken off, this content will still be circulating and can resurface,” said Maingard.

There should be emphasis placed on teen boys and educating them on the ramifications, as they did not fully realise the impact this could have on the girls featured in the video and how far-reaching the consequences could be.

“Most importantly, teens need to keep healthy and open communication lines with their parents because this serves to prevent situations of this nature becoming a reality,” said Maingard.

Daily News