Child pornography is the production, promotion and distribution of pornography involving our nation’s most vulnerable treasure: our children. It is the visual representation of a child engaged in sexual conduct and includes acts such as intercourse, masturbation, exhibition of the genitals or pubic area, naked and abusive pictures of children etc. This horror is prevalent on the international, national, regional and local spheres and is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that includes excruciatingly explicit photographs, videos and more. These images depict children performing sexual acts with other children, adults and other objects. These children are subjected to exploitation, rape, paedophilia, and in extreme cases, murder.

Child pornography is illegal as it is evidence of a crime and grievously harms children, physically, emotionally, mentally and psychologically. Child pornography images are also referred to as ‘crime scene photographs’ to ascertain that behaving in a sexual manner with a child is a criminal act. Child pornography perpetuates an industry which causes harm to children. The increasing demand for this industry does not seem to have found the brakes and won’t slow down any time soon unless we intervene on behalf of our children. By viewing such vile material, the perpetrators will be sexually around and be inclined to satisfy their urges by engaging in sexual acts with children, causing physical and emotional trauma.

Viewing and possession of child pornography is a crime and against the law in Sri Lanka according to the section 2 of the Obscene Publication Act No. 12 of 2005 and the Penal Code (No. 22 of 1995) Section 286 (a). However, the Government is looking at enacting new legislations to prevent the exploitation of children in obscene publications and to safeguard the children from exposure to ill effects of pornographic materials. ‘It is extremely important to safeguard our children from ill effects of exposure to obscene publications,” the government said in a statement and added that the provisions, stipulated in the archaic Penal Code and Obscene Publications Ordinance of 1927, are inadequate to deal with current social context. We at PEaCE could not reiterate more the importance of such a stride. Minister of Justice, Dr. Wijayadasa Rajapaksha has proposed drafting a new Obscene Publications Bill to prevent using children for pornographic material and possession of pornographic contents related to children, and to prevent children being exposed to explicit contents. The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the Minister’s proposal for drafting a new Obscene Publications Bill. Thus, making path in assuring a future for our children to be much brighter.

Victims who have been subjected to sexual abuse and child pornography brought to light the recurring issues that plague their everyday life from physical pain to anxiety, fear, stress, ignored and abandoned by society and those close to them. This last issue hangs over them like a dark cloud and pushes them further into this abyss of pain and self-doubt that results in them turning back to their old ways so that they can feel that false sense of ‘love’ provided by their abusers. The society plays a pivotal role in the recuperation of these tortured souls as they need a support system that doesn’t just extend to the confines of their class or workplace but to all branches of society.