Temas Especiales

27 de Nov de 2020


Fighting child abuse and pornography in Panama

PANAMA. At a recent Latin American seminar in Argentina, Panama was identified as the country with the highest incidence of pornography.

PANAMA. At a recent Latin American seminar in Argentina, Panama was identified as the country with the highest incidence of pornography.

And while the country challenges for a place as the internet “Adult” pornographic distribution capital of the world, it is also the center of a thriving child pornography industry which has already resulted in four major prosecutions.

While there is no law against adult pornography however degraded it may appear, child pornography is a crime and across the world, including Panama, distributors face tough prison sentences, often in segregation, as the general prison population does not take kindly to those they describe as “sexual perverts.”

Panama’s investigation of child pornography on internet sites is hamstrung with a lack of experts who can detect offenders on the internet. says Marcelino Aguilar Aizpurua the prosecutor of the First Circuit Sexual Crimes unit , but nevertheless they have won cases in Colon, Chiriqui, San Miguelito and Panama City.

During the investigations massive amounts of pornographic material were seized. In one case alone over 30,000 images of children were found.

The prosecutor said that a problem with this type of case, because it relates to minors, details of the operation are not revealed. Only the named of the guilty parties and their sentences are made public.

“In cases involving sexual exploitation of minors and child pornography, the suspects do not have the right to bail, and could be sentenced to five to ten years in jail, and with aggravation, between 10 and 15 years” said Aguilar.

If the victim is below the age of 14, and the perpetrator belongs to a criminal organization, more years could be added to the sentence.

“If a person obtains child pornography material, he could serve between 10 to 15 years, because it is a very heinous crime” said the prosecutor.

While Panama does not have the sophisticated equipment and trained personnel to adequately fight the crime and identify local criminals, many high level investigations carried out in other countries, have been able to pin point users in Panama, who watched pornography from the investigating country, or have put material on site.

When this happens, Interpol is immediately alerted and the warning is passed to Interpol Panama, which in turn passes the information to the Commercial Sexual Exploitation Department of Judicial Investigation.

Prosecution is made difficult by the “skill” of distributors who can “hide” child pornography on adult sites.

In Canada where the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) have a sophisticated network, fighting on-line child pornography, in association with other units around the globe and where Canadian law enables them to track and prosecute Canadian offenders anywhere in the world, a local tip off recently led to a check on a local “adult” distributor.

Said Aguilar: “The investigation of these crimes requires a lot of resources. The department is making great efforts to thwart child pornography, commercial and sexual exploitation. With limited resources we have take many cases to trial and perpetrator have been convicted.

“We cannot win everything, but we have a high percentage of convictions.

“Currently we need to train technicians to deal with pornography and commercial and sexual exploitation. Those are areas that need reinforcement.”