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Act against paedophilia passed in Goa
Sandesh Prabhudesai in Panaji | May 01, 2003 01:30 IST
The Goa assembly on Wednesday passed the Children's legislation against child sexual abuse, especially those related to tourism.
The legislation has specifically made any such case of abuse a non-bailable offence under section 2 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.
The fines and jail terms are also severe -- Rs 100,000 with imprisonment between one to three years for sexual assault and incest and Rs 200,000 with seven to 10 years jail term in case of a grave sexual assault.
"All persons, who keep with them or reside wholly, party or in any form with one or more child or children who are not related to them by blood, shall inform this fact immediately to the Director of Women and Child Development," states the bill.
Under the new legislation the owner and manager of a hotel or other establishment will be held solely responsible for the safety of the child in the premises as well as all adjoining beaches, parks, and if any child is allowed to enter the room without registration.
The act also prohibits the children from accessing objectional material inside hotels and other establishments from internet facilities that are not fitted with filters or through film or videos, disc-players, cable or any other medium.
It provides for strong action against making children available to the adults for commercial exploitation including posing obscenely, selling or abetting sale of children even under the garb of adoption and even dedicating a girl child as devadasi (servant).
The police and airport authorities can now detain any adult, accompanied by a child, who is suspected to be involved in child trafficking or abuse.
It also proposes sensitisation of the police personnel on the issue of child abuse and even making it a part of police training curriculum. Setting up of the victim assessment units and evolving child-friendly tourism code have also been proposed.
The government is now empowered to appoint persons to go undercover and pose as a prospective client for child prostitutes to nab them.
The first 10-year long racket of paedophilia had come to light in Goa in 1991. Freddy Peats, the aged mastermind, is presently facing life imprisonment in Goa since 1996, along with his accomplice, New Zealander Eoghan Colm McBride, 64.
Five of his partners from Australia, Sweden, Bangkok, Germany and France are still absconding. Several other cases have also come to light since then, but many escaped in the absence of a proper legislation.
More reports from Goa