Tougher child porn laws urged
By Paul Tuns
On Sept. 2, police in 12 countries simultaneously arrested almost 50 people. The sting, dubbed Operation Cathedral, was described by authorities as "the most extensive child pornography sting in history." Begun by the British National Crime Squad six months ago, it uncovered a database with more than 100,000 pornographic photographs.
Police have seized "boxes of pornography, various software materials, and hardware," 8mm film, and videotapes. Some suspects had personal databases of 10,000 images, including some depicting children as young as 18 months.
"The content would turn the stomach of any right-minded person," said Operation Cathedral leader, Det. Supt. John Stewardson of Britain.
Bill Anthony, a U.S. customs spokesman, described the difficulty in cracking child pornography rings. He told the Los Angeles Times, "You had to prove that you had multiple images of child pornography. They (the perpetrators) would go to a sophisticated, secured cyber room (on the Internet) ... to make their transactions."
Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women of Canada, told The Interim she applauds the recent sting, but warns that there are many more people out there who use child pornography.
In June 1993, Parliament passed a child pornography law that prohibited depicting a child under the age of 18 in explicit sexual activity through photographic film, video, or other visual representation. There is a maximum 10-year sentence for anyone who publishes such material, and a maximum five-year sentence for anyone who possesses it.
According to the July-August 1993 issue of Reality, a publication of REAL Women, the section of the law dealing with written material includes computer-generated images.
But Mrs. Landolt says the Internet presents new problems that current laws do not adequately address.
She urges governments to make new, explicit rules and regulations to deal with child pornography on the
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