Members of the public can now anonymously report any images of sexual abuse discovered on the internet through a newly launched website.
The website, www.fpbprochild.org.za
, which is available 24 hours, seven days a week was launched in Johannesburg on Tuesday by Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba.
Mr Gigaba said the website service will afford members of the public an opportunity to report any incidences of child pornography online and remain anonymous.
"Our internet content analysts will assess the contents of any reported website and will forward a detailed report to the law enforcement agencies in South Africa for further action.
"We are thus already fulfilling one of the commitments we made on preventing sexual abuse and child exploitation through combating child pornography," he said.
Minister Gigaba emphasised the need for parents to educate their children on the use of internet and that they should avoid pornographic sites.
"The website is intended to alert internet service providers of criminal activities relating to child pornography or images of sexual abuse hosted on their servers through their infrastructure," the minister said.
The Film and Publication Board, which is responsible for the effective implementation of the Act, is therefore directly involved in the protection of children from sexual abuse and exploitation in films, games and publications.
The board fully supports the initiative that the public become involved in this war to protect all children from internet perpetrators.
The Board's Acting Chief Executive Officer, Iyavar Chetty said child pornography is a global problem which needed joint initiatives to end it.
"Most countries realise the need for a hotline," he said, adding that worldwide there were more than 100 000 child pornography sites.
"It is disturbing that children now stumble on such sites," he said.
Mr Chetty said he hoped the public would find the site to be an important tool in exposing porn sites.
Child pornography is defined in the Act as any image or description of a person who is under the age of 18 years or made to appear, look like or described as a person under that age, engaged in any form of sexual conduct.
Children are sexually brutalised, tortured and even murdered in the creation of child pornography.
In a bid to ensure that child pornography creators are dealt with, government has responded by ensuring that there are legislative and other measures in place to give practical effect to the constitutional principle, and by so doing ensuring that the best interests of the child are paramount.
Government has extended the scope of the Films and Publications Act to make the creation, production, distribution, possession, advocacy, advertising or promotion of child pornography a criminal offence, and has increased the maximum prison sentence for any person convicted of any child pornography offence to 10 years.
It has also initiated a national campaign to increase awareness among the public of this terrible crime against children and has encouraged a partnership between government child protection agencies and civil society to maintain constant vigilance to ensure a healthy social and educational environment for all children.
The Film and Publication Board has also encouraged and supported by the Department of Home Affairs to increase its direct participation in child protection initiatives.
Other stakeholders in the fight against child pornography included the South African Police Service, SABC and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa. - BuaNews