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Published On: Thu, Jul 13th, 2017

Five children in Colombia abused for child pornography every day: Vargas

nsnbc : Jorge Luis Vargas, Director of the Intelligence Unit of Colombia’s National Police, said five children per day are abused for the production of child pornography. In 2016 alone, Vargas said, 4,471 Colombians had been linked to sexual abuse of minors and child pornography.

School children in Cartagena.

School children in Cartagena.

Jorge Luis Vargas, Director of the Intelligence Unit of Colombia’s National Police, made this shocking statement on Wednesday during an interview with W Radio. Approximately five children per day on average, are being sexually abused with the purpose of selling photographs and videos from the abuse to and through networks that distribute child pornography.

Vargas’ statement on Wednesday came after seven people were arrested on Tuesday. The arrests were made as part of an international police operation targeting 110 alleged pedophiles and child pornographers in 23 countries.

Vargas added that Colombian authorities have arrested more than 10,000 people on charges of pedophilia and child pornography since 2011. In 2016 alone, Vargas said, Colombia asked Interpol to issue 189 so-called “red notices” related to pedophilia and child pornography charges.

Vargas also pointed out the shocking numbers released by the office of Colombia’s Medical Examiner. According to data released by the office, two third of the 21,399 cases of sexual abuse of minors involved children younger than 14. For girls the most affected age group is between 10 and 13 years of age. For boys the most affected group is between 5 and 9 years of age.

Information about extreme poverty as a contributing risk factor is sparse to non-existent. However, international studies show that children in rural or sub-urban areas with high poverty rates are more vulnerable to abuse for child pornography and / or child prostitution than children from middle class strata, while  all social strata are relatively equally affected by non-commercialized sexual child abuse.

The age of consent in Colombia is 14, and prostitution is legal. The fact that prostitution is legal contributes – according to international studies – to mitigating the risk of child sex abuse and child pornography. Experience from Colombian cities like Cartagena also shows that legal prostitutes generally tend to voluntarily assist police in identifying and apprehending child sex predators, including child sex “tourists” and those involved in producing child porn. Experience from Cartagena does, however, also substantiate that poverty is an important risk factor in “commercialized” child sex abuse.

CH/L – nsnbc 13.07.2017

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