A multinational operation recently took action against a ring suspected of storing and distributing child pornography. Panama took part in the operation which led to initial charges against a dozen people.
Osvaldo Rodríguez Martínez
The public prosecutor revealed that among those involved were three practising teachers, one of whom works in a special state school in the central province of Los Santos, whilst the other two are employed by private schools in the San Miguelito and Juan Diaz districts of the capital.
Expanding on this information, the prosecutor reported that the man resident in Juan Diaz – a primary school teacher – was found to have two laptops, memory cards, hard drives and other digital memory devices in his home.
One of them had been used to store 84 photos and 10 videos of a pornographic nature of children between five and ten-years-old.
Also among the accused are IT professionals, a doctor, a public servant at the Crown Court, three unemployed men and a repeat offender who was convicted in 2007 and conditionally released after completing two-thirds of his sentence.
In response to intense questioning from the general public about teachers involved in this scourge, specialists explained in the media that the unmasking of paedophiles in these professions forms part of a modus operandi to avoid suspicion falling on people working with children.
The public prosecutor, Anilú Batista, told the press that proof against those accused was shown in court and that the seized material “was clearly of young girls and boys who are being sexually exploited”.
The evidence was uncovered by the investigation by detecting frequent internet downloads of this type of illegal material. They were able to do this by identifying the unique IP number of each device connected to the internet, which is controlled by the internet provider.
Between January and June this year, 3,847 charges were brought in Panama for sexual abuse of children, almost half of these were rape cases, Jennie Barb, from the foundation Unidos por la niñez (United for childhood), announced on the TV channel TVN. Only 2% of these types of crimes are reported, she said.
Every seven minutes somewhere on the internet a minor is shown as the object of sexual abuse, Internet Watch Foundation reported at the beginning of this year. This United Nations agency was responsible, in 2018 alone, for deleting over one hundred thousand web pages showing messages sexualising children.
Panama has not adopted the clear, long-term public policies needed to deal with the problem. In 2017, meanwhile, an attempt foundered in the National Assembly to pass a law for the adoption of strategies aimed at delivering well-rounded sex education whilst also promoting good health.
Certain groups linked to churches rejected this attempt to introduce sex education in state schools and went so far as to stage-manage one of the largest marches in recent times in protest against the experts who had produced guides for teaching professionals.
On the side of those in favour of urgently introducing such lessons from primary school age is the sociologist Olmedo Beluche. He has qualified as “religious conservative fundamentalists” those people who resort to falsifying texts they disagree with in order to win supporters over to their cause. “They attack what’s called Gender Theory (or as they say, “the ideology of gender”) as the cause of all evil. Supposedly, this theory attempts to plant in the untouched minds of our children and young people subversive ideas concerning unusual sexual practices such as homosexuality”, he said.
In the opposing camp, Luis Sagel, the protest’s coordinator, said that it’s an attempt to “rob children of their innocence”.
Beluche has made clear the importance of a “revolution to liberate us from machismo, sexist violence, discrimination, submission and all forms of oppression. This revolution would not be solely political or economic but would shake the foundations of our culture as we know it. Yes, Gender Theory can be dangerous for those defending the capitalist patriarchy”. (PL)
(Translated by Elizabeth Dann – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) – Photos: Pixabay