In 2015 The South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) approved the publication of its issue paper, “Sexual Offences: Pornography and Children” for public comment. Child exposure to porn is a national disgrace.
The paper aims to explore the topic of pornography and children, particularly the exposure of children to pornography through the mass media and the use of technology to groom and exploit children. Four areas of concern have been identified:
- access to or exposure of a child to pornography and child pornography;
- creation and distribution of child pornography;
- explicit self-images created & distributed by a child (sexting); and
- grooming of a child & other sexual contact crimes associated with pornography.
Child-on-child sexual abuse has escalated in SA as a result of early and easy exposure to pornography. Pedophiles use pornography to groom their victims.
South Africa desperately needs stricter and more comprehensive legislation to effectively regulate access to pornography to better protect children. As the ‘National Centre on Sexual Exploitations’ in the US says, “Pornography is causing a public health crisis by not only contributing to sex trafficking, child abuse, and lifelong addictions, but also by stripping many individuals of the ability to have lasting meaningful relationships.” .