Task force’s draft to fight child sex exploitation hailed

KUALA LUMPUR: Experts have hailed the second meeting of the sexual crimes task force as a major breakthrough in the battle against child sexual exploitation.

The task force presented a preliminary draft of its proposed child sexual crimes Bill at yesterday’s meeting, and it addressed a wide range of long-standing issues in child protection laws.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said presented the draft, which included specific laws against child sexual grooming, child pornography and child prostitution as well as improved courtroom and evidence-gathering procedures for underage victims.

“Honestly, this is the most uplifted I’ve felt since the start of my campaign!” said social media activist and task force member Syed Azmi Alhabshi, who has been campaigning against child sexual abuse on Facebook.

Women’s Centre for Change senior advocacy officer Melissa Mohd Akhir added that the meeting represented “a clear step forward for Malaysian child rights advocates”.

“It’s good that they’re addressing all forms of sexual exploitation other than just rape and harassment.

“What they proposed shows a more realistic and updated understanding of a child’s experience,” said Melissa.

Azalina said the task force would now present the draft to the Cabinet and then to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for fine-tuning.

She stressed, however, that the public still needed to play its part to ensure the law gets passed in Parliament.

She expressed her support for an upcoming campaign by R.AGE to lobby Members of Parliament to support the new child protection laws when Parliament convenes two weeks from now.

“We can draft as many laws as we want, but if the public doesn’t pressure their MPs to vote for the Bill, it won’t get approved in Parliament,” she said.

R.AGE, which produced the Predator In My Phone documentary series on child sexual predators, was invited to the task force meeting to present its findings after over nine months of undercover work.

MPs and members of the public interested in supporting the campaign, to be launched on Oct 14, can contact R.AGE at alltherage@thestar.com.my and facebook.com/thestarrage.


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