Indonesia forms task force to tackle child pornography as millions of cases recorded


JAKARTA: The government has revealed that Indonesia faces an increasingly threatening child pornography problem with 5.5 million cases recorded in the span of four years, involving disabled, elementary schoolchildren and even those from early-childhood education, forcing the government to form a new task force to tackle the issue.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Hadi Tjahjanto announced the move in a press conference on Friday, while citing the aforementioned data from a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) report.

The figures put Indonesia among the top-five countries globally and top two within ASEAN, where child pornography cases are abundant.

“Disabled [children], students in elementary and secondary schools, Islamic boarding schools and even students from early-childhood education have all fallen victim [to child pornography]. The perpetrators are usually someone the children know and are close to,” Hadi told reporters, adding that child pornography was a “a very serious problem” in the country.

The minister was well aware that the record did not reflect the actual number of child pornography cases, since many victims might remain silent for fear of shame, not to mention that victims of sexual violence often receive threats and intimidation from their abusers.

“I’m sure [the country’s child pornography] problem is an iceberg phenomenon,” he said.

In an effort to tackle the matter, the Communications and Information Ministry had found and cut access to 1.9 million items of child pornography content as of September last year but this had not helped much since the perpetrators purportedly work in networks, whose actions are difficult to control.

To this end, the task force is being formed to encourage better collaboration among relevant stakeholders. It will be led by Hadi’s staff and will involve the Education, Culture, Research and Technology Ministry; the Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry; the Religious Affairs Ministry; the Communications and Information Technology Ministry; the Law and Human Rights Ministry and the Social Affairs Ministry.

It will also have representatives from the National Police and the Attorney General’s Office (AGO), the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI), the Witness and Victim’s Protection Agency (LPSK) and the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK).

“The task force will synchronize across the different ministries and bodies to formulate an action plan. Then, we will also take steps to handle [child pornography] in synergy, starting from prevention, handling, law enforcement and post-incident,” Hadi added.

KPAI commissioner Kawiyan told The Jakarta Post on Sunday that the task force was set to hold meetings monthly. Its priority is to ensure that prevailing laws and regulations do not overlap, while also increasing ease of access to report child pornography cases.

“There are overlapping laws related to child pornography. There’s the [2008] Pornography Law, the [2008] Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law, and the [2002] Child Protection Law. We want to make sure that there’s no oversight in these regulations,” he said.

Kawiyan went on to say that the task force was “necessary” as child pornography cases had become more complex due to the popularity of social media and other video-sharing platforms.

Indonesia’s child pornography problem was once again at the forefront of the public’s attention after police at Soekarto-Hatta International Airport uncovered a child pornography ring in Banten in February that made and sold same-sex child pornography content on social media.

The police have since named five suspects, and eight children, whose ages range from 12 to 16 years old, are thought to have been victims of the pornography ring. - The Jakarta Post/ANN

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