Sexual crimes against children
PANAMA. Only 50 percent of Panamanians will tell the authorities that a minor has been sexually exploited by an adult according to a jo...
PANAMA. Only 50 percent of Panamanians will tell the authorities that a minor has been sexually exploited by an adult according to a joint study of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Program for the Eradication of Children Labor.
The report also showed that only 20 percent of the population will do anything in the case of a commercial sexual transaction, which demonstrates a lack of social conscience among Panamanians.
The study was conducted in seven different countries in Latin America: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Panama.
It demonstrated that the main reason for the proliferation of sexually exploited minors is poverty, lack of education and family values.
One of the most shocking findings is that the number of people denouncing criminals who commit sexual crimes against children has diminished over the last four years.
A similar previous study made in 2005, revealed that exploiter customers are from different ages and nationalities: 85 percent were Panamanian, seven percent were tourists and five percent were foreigners, who reside in the country. This demonstrates that sexual tourism exists in the country.
The deputy director of the Childhood, Adolescence and Family National Secretariat (SENNIAF), Rosario Correa said that only 180 cases of sexually abused children had been investigated by her office between 2008 and this year, but the likelihood exists that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The First Circuit Sexual Crimes prosecutor, Marcelino Aguilar Aizpurua said that the crimes most commonly reported are child pornography, child prostitution and child slavery.
Panama does not have the necessary tools to investigate certain sexual crimes such as child pornography, but the office had successfully prosecuted several of those case, said Aguilar.
The National Council for the Prevention of Commercial Sexual Exploitation Crimes (CONAPREDES) has established fund destined for programs to create awareness that child prostitution and exploitation of minors is taking place, but more has to be done to protect the youth. But the project does not have and an assigned budget as it was considered a low priority.