The meps want to remove child pornography sites in the EU

Any content relating to child pornography on the Internet should be removed at source in all EU countries, said the members of the committee on civil liberties, on Monday, in a series of amendments to the EU’s new rules designed to prevent child abuse, to strengthen the sanctions and to protect the victims. If a deletion is not possible, for example in case of accommodation outside of the EU, the member States may “prevent access” in accordance with their national law.

The members of the committee on civil liberties has filed on Monday a series of amendments to a proposed european directive on the exploitation and sexual abuse of children and child pornography. Studies show that in Europe, between 10 % and 20 % of minor children may be exposed to during their childhood, to sexual assault.

“We must strengthen prosecution, criminalise new forms of sexual abuse, such as solicitation for sexual purposes through the use of discussion forums, and above all protect child victims before, during and after the trial,” said Roberta Angelilli (EPP, IT), rapporteur of the EP in the context of the case.

The new rules will put in place more severe penalties across the european Union in the event of conviction for the sexual abuse or exploitation of children. The proposal sets minimum penalties for the twenty-two types of crime, the member States retaining the option to adopt measures and more severe penalties.

Persons convicted face prison terms ranging from two to ten years ‘ imprisonment, or more, depending on the offence committed. Given that nearly 20 % of sex offenders continue to commit new offences after conviction, meps specify that member States may impose on the person convicted, the “ban on [temporary or permanent] to exercise any profession which provides, under whatever form, a contact with minors.”

During recruitment, the employer will have the right to obtain from the competent authorities, of information relating to any previous conviction for a sexual offence. Once the person has been hired, in case of serious suspicion, the employer shall be entitled to request such information, even if they must be extracted from a criminal record in another member State. Member States may also take other measures, such as the implementation of “sex offender registers” accessible to only the courts and/or police services.

The sexual abuse of children by who has a recognised position of trust, authority or influence (e.g., family member, guardian, teacher) is included in the new forms of the crime of sexual abuse, and is punishable as such. More severe penalties will also be imposed on any person who engages in a tort of minors with a disability, physical or psychic, or in a situation of dependence or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The sex tourism abroad for purposes of sexual abuse will also be subject to prosecution in accordance to the new rules of jurisdiction.

The new forms of abuse and exploitation, such as the solicitation of children on the Internet with intent to sexually abuse (“grooming”), or the fact of adoption to the children of lascivious poses in front of a web camera, will also be criminalised. Meps added a provision according to which the author of an offence to intentionally use a variety of ways to target a large number of children to multiply his chances of committing the offence will incur more severe penalties.

Meps have strengthened proposed provisions to assist, support and protect the victims, so that they have easy access to legal remedies and do not suffer from their participation in criminal proceedings.

The negotiations between the representatives of the Parliament and the Council will continue during the coming months, with a view to reaching a compromise by mid-2011 at the latest. Once adopted, the directive will replace the current provisions dating back to 2004. The member States will have a period of two years to transpose the new rules into their national law.

Vote in committee: 40 votes in favour, 0 against and 5 abstentions



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