Photo credit: Kumar Gauraw
According to the Sexual Offences Act of Ghana, it is an offence punishable by imprisonment for an adult to touch the child’s body directly or indirectly or invite, counsel or incite a child to touch with a part of the body or an object for sexual purposes. The aim of the Child and Family Welfare policy launched by the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection has an aim to protect children from all forms of abuse, exploitation, violence and gross negligence. And the policy defines a child as a person below 18 years of age. Suffice to say that Child pornography is illegal in all parts of the world.
We come across videos or photos of children even below 10 years and we circulate them on social media for whatever motivates us to do so: we am not in position to talk about it. Have you paused to think about the child who has been sexually abused, knowing that images of their suffering are being shared time and time again online can only make it even more difficult to rebuild their lives. And have you thought about the fact that the people who are grooming or abusing these children could be strangers, friends, family, or even lives on another continent before sharing? In today’s world a child can be sexually abused on one continent and that abuse can be recorded, stored and shared from another. This can all happen within a matter of minutes. The internet simply doesn’t respect borders.
JI and partners believe this is a truly global problem and it demands a truly global solution. Now there is no system in place in Ghana to check these nor is the law enforcement agencies empowered or equipped to work in tracking, remove or block these unpleasant photos let alone turn off the source of the child abuse materials, there is the need for people to adopt some kind of personal discipline. What does one hope to achieve by circulating these images? Is it not better to delate images depicting sexual abuse of children rather than communicate the content to others by sharing?
All stakeholders in Ghana including the children themselves have a role to play in ensuring that the local policing is done for the safety of children and young people as stipulated in the child and family welfare policy launched last year. JI and partners wish to advice the general public not to circulate or share any of those images. If you come across it on a group platform, let us take up responsibility as good citizens to discourage those who post them. Some of these images are not your children but it could happen that your child, niece or nephew gets access to your device and chances upon this, they could be scandalized. Let us try and kill it at the point of receipt. We also call on all stakeholders to play their roles effectively to guarantee the children of Ghana some level of protection as stipulated in law.