The bill contemplates a prison sentence of 8 to 10 years for adults guilty of child grooming
- National Emergency Commission photo -
Published on Wednesday, July 28, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
With 40 votes in favor, in the first round of voting, the deputies of Congress approved bill No.21507, entitled "The Child Grooming Act and the Safety of Minors on the Internet."
Child grooming is befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child, and sometimes the family, to lower the child's inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse. Child grooming is also regularly used to lure minors into various illicit businesses such as child trafficking, child prostitution, cybersex trafficking, or the production of child pornography.
The bill will require providers of digital content and services to take action to prevent sexual crimes against minors.
According to Congress, the goal is to establish a regulatory framework of reference to prevent, fight and punish child grooming, to protect minors from virtual harassment by one or more adults.
The law describes “grooming” as virtual sexual harassment of children and adolescents, in deliberate actions by an adult to contact a child or adolescent through the use of the internet, social media, instant messaging applications, among others, for sexual purposes.
The crime of Child Grooming is committed when the adult proceeds to establish false friendly or affective ties through manipulation or deception and concealing the adult condition. This with the goal of the child or adolescent carrying out actions of a sexual nature, using the tactic of seduction, provocation and the sending of pornographic content, thereby violating the privacy and psychology of the minor.
The bill contemplates a prison sentence of 8 to 10 years for adults who cheat, creates, produces, reproduces, finances the production or reproduction of pornographic material and encourages or forces a minor to send pornographic material (this includes image and/or their voice) through electronic devices using a person over eight years of age and under 18.
It also penalizes when the minor is under eight years of age or incapable, and will be punished with a prison sentence of 8 to 10 years.
It also includes a penalty of imprisonment from 1 to 4 years to whoever possesses pornographic material in which a minor or incapable person appears, either using their image and/or their voice.
The same penalty will apply to whoever possesses this pornographic material on a website.
The adult is also penalized with a prison sentence of 1 to 4 years when the harasser manages to have sexual photos or videos of the child or adolescent by hacking the passwords or accounts.
It is expected during this week, the bill will receive the second and final round of voting, before being approved into law.
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