Cambodian Deep Dive - Challenges in Legislation
Ever wondered what fighting Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation (CSAE) is like in Cambodia? We talk to APLE's Chief Development Officer Rosario Hernandez to find out a bit about the situation the team are facing on the ground.
This week we discuss the legislative landscape they’re working with; next week we take a deep dive into the sociocultural factors associated with child protection in Cambodia.
Definition of CSAM
Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), referred to in Article 40 of the Cambodian Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation as “child pornography”, is defined as “a visible material such as a photograph or videotape, including a material in electronic form, depicting a minor’s naked figure which excites or stimulates sexual desire”. Such “visible material” is further defined in an explanatory note as including photographs, drawings, texts, videos and movies in any physical or electronic form, and may also contain audio content that is pornographic in nature.
As Rosario highlights, this definition omits mention of images of the sexual parts of a child’s body for primarily sexual purposes. It also does not cover child sexual abuse material (CSAM) in the form of virtual child sexual abuse images.
Furthermore, an absence of laws against grooming substantially hampers prevention efforts for both on and offline child sexual abuse.
Lack of Harmony across National Jurisdictions
As described in an ECPAT regional overview, international jurisdictions lack harmony among the laws that protect children across different countries, especially Asian countries, resulting in challenges related to the prosecution of foreign traveling child sex offenders. According to Rosario, the complicated nature and length of the legal processes sometimes results in withdrawals of the accusation and out-of-court settlements. This allows offenders to travel from country to country and continue to act without repercussions.
Lack of Resources in the Judicial System
APLE has high success rates in the removal of CSAM online. However, as detailed in an ECPAT Country Review, the lack of technological resources within law enforcement makes the victim identification and CSAM tracing a challenging process. This paucity of resources often prevents law enforcement from pursuing all cases referred to them to the fullest possible extent.
As Rosario stresses, while the existing laws are not completely inadequate, this lack of resources pose severe impediments to their effective implementation.
an absence of laws against grooming substantially hampers prevention efforts for both on and offline child sexual abuse'