Horrific New Child Sex Trends Emerge in SA
By Kamini Padayachee
April 1, 2016
Sexual predators “live-streaming” incidents of child sexual abuse and being able to place online orders for the types of abuse they want to view are some of the disturbing trends emerging in child pornography.
Different types of child pornography were discussed at a lecture held at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday.
The speakers said while recent statistics were not available, their research had shown that the sharing of child pornography was prolific in the country.
Recently the police have made arrests under Operation Cloud Nine, working with their international counterparts to catch offenders.
In December last year, a Glenwood man was arrested for being in possession of and distributing pornographic images of a US teenager.
The police said the man, whose case was still pending before court, had been soliciting sexually explicit images from a 13-year-old girl in Virginia in the US through a mobile application called “Kik”.
Monique Emser, a research associate at the University of Free State, said sexual predators had formed highly organised and sophisticated networks.
She said the crime had evolved from just images to live streaming and “made to order” sexual abuse material being created.
“These sexual predators are now able to broadcast live footage of children being abused. This footage is watched and also recorded.”
She said that made-to-order material was where the “audience” could choose what abuse they wanted to be perpetrated on the child.
“It is incredibly disturbing and becoming more and more extreme. On some of these networks, the predator can choose whether they want a child to have blonde hair or black hair, in what setting the abuse must take place, and what abuse must takes place.
“In some cases, the child will be directed to say a word requested by the person watching so they feel part of the experience.”
Emser said these acts on children carried “layers of harm” as the child was first traumatised during the actual abuse and then the secondary harm was due to the images and videos being shared on the internet.
Advocate Dawn Coleman-Malinga, from the National Prosecuting Authority, also cautioned parents to be more vigilant about sharing pictures of their children on social media.
She said there had been instances where innocent images were taken from social media and then used in child pornography.
She said another disturbing local trend was that young people and university students were being asked to share naked images in exchange for airtime or other items.
Another speaker, Thora Mansfield, the director of the Open Door Crisis Care centre, which works with abused women and children, said parents needed to watch out for signs that their children were being groomed for abuse or to create child pornography.
“It can be anyone, the pastor or a teacher. Watch out for someone who pays extra attention to your child and wants to spend more time with them. Grooming is a gradual process and often several children will be groomed by a predator over a period of time.”
Coleman-Malinga urged those aware of child pornography material to report it to the authorities.
“People need to understand that when they are looking at an image of child pornography, they are looking at a crime scene. A child had to be abused for that image to be produced.”