Research report - National Child Labour Action Programme for South Africa (1).doc

These shortcomings will probably be addressed through

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was charged for the first time with this offence. These shortcomings will probably be addressed through a new Sexual Offences Bill, to be tabled in Parliament during 2003. The Sexual Offences Bill deals with prostitution of children, rape, and indecent acts against children. It treats the child as a victim and not an offender and would thus not be liable to prosecution in terms of the new law. To cover the period during which the Sexual Offences Bill is being drafted and considered, a provision was included in the Child Care Act in 1999 to the effect that any person who is involved, directly or indirectly, in the commercial sexual exploitation of children is guilty of an offence. A person who is an occupier or owner of a property on which the sexual exploitation occurs, who knows about it and fails to report it, is also guilty of an offence. Child pornography is prohibited in terms of the Films and Publication Act falling under the jurisdiction of the Department of Home Affairs. With effect from April 2000 the definition of child pornography was widened to include the electronic media. The Act includes age restrictions and protection for children, in particular, against exploitation or degradation in publications, films and on the Internet. It is an offence for a person to create, produce, import or possess a publication of children pornography or to create, distribute, produce or possess such a film, document or thing. While the legal framework for addressing child prostitution is receiving attention, there is concern that measures for, and resources dedicated to combating these activities are inadequate. Many sexual exploitation activists are adamant – and have argued this point explicitly with the ILO – that this activity is not ‘labour’, but sexual exploitation, a crime. 3.5 Children involved in illegal work-related activities Work-related activities of children that constitute potentially serious crimes include drug trafficking and the use of children by housebreaking syndicates. Children’s involvement in prostitution and in pornography is discussed above. Most policy measures addressing illegal work-related activities form part of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s general strategy to deal with children involved in criminal activities. This includes distinguishing between activities where children are victims (such as most cases of prostitution) and activities where children are perpetrators needing rehabilitation. It also includes finding alternatives to jailing children. It is considered a serious offence when children deal in drugs , or are found in possession of larger quantities of drugs and where dealing is suspected. . These child suspects can be held in prison when awaiting trial and, if found guilty, can be sentenced to imprisonment. However if the child is clearly a user rather than a dealer, the National Prosecution Authority's policy is to divert the child to drug counselling programmes rather than prosecution.
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