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February 2, 2006

UNICEF advises Guatemala to crack down on child pornography

UNICEF to Guatemala: Investigate local child porn rings.
February 1, 2006 12:00am
Source: EFE News Service

The regional office of UNICEF is demanding that Guatemalan authorities launch a serious investigation of child pornography rings said to be operating virtually unhindered in this Central American nation.

The office of the United Nations Children's Fund in Guatemala, in a communique, asked the authorities to "take quick and decisive action to stop this and all the sexual exploitation crimes against children and adolescents that are taking place each day in this country."

UNICEF's concern over the matter came to a head after the local press reported on Monday the existence of an alleged ring of pedophiles who produce child porn videos in the eastern province of Jutiapa, near the border with El Salvador.

The local daily Prensa Libre reported that the pedophiles film children of both sexes ranging in age from 11 to 16 committing sex acts with each other or being abused by adults evidently while they were under the influence of drugs.

An investigation by the Guatemalan national ombudsman's office found that the videos are being distributed to pedophiles around the world via the Internet.

UNICEF says that to fight those dedicated to producing and distributing child pornography, "Guatemala must move forward with reforms of the penal code, classify as crimes the (various) forms of commercial sexual exploitation and harmonize the body of law with the international instruments ratified by the Guatemalan state."

This, the U.N. organization added, will permit "the penal sanctioning and tracking down of persons who sexually exploit minors."

"Commercial sexual exploitation is a form of violence that uses persons under 18 years of age in sexual, erotic and pornographic activities in exchange for payment," UNICEF said, adding that "extreme poverty, lack of educational and job opportunities, marginalization, displacement and intrafamily violence" make minors vulnerable to such exploitation.

On Saturday, the Spanish police broke up 62 Internet pedophile "groups" around the world that exchanged photos and videos of minors - many of them infants - who had been sexually violated.

The Spanish police said that their investigation had detected a network of 2,870 Internet connections in 40 countries, among them Guatemala, that distributed the images of minors to groups of pedophiles [...]

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