MEPs vote to support increased powers to block and remove access to offending material from websites
 
Speaking after the debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week, the Ireland East MEP Liam Aylward welcomed the decisive action taken by the EU on combating the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, strengthening Member States’ position by criminalising such abuse and exploitation not currently covered in legislation.
 
“The lack of effective coordination across the EU to date on tackling child pornography and sexual exploitation is unacceptable and appalling given the issues involved.”
 
“Given that over 200 new images of child pornography are uploaded to the internet each day it is essential that the EU puts legislation in place to allow strong and coordinated action to be taken to protect children and criminalise and punish the abuse and exploitation of children.”
 
The Proposal sets out the least maximum penalties for a wide range of offences in the area of child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and child pornography but does not prevent Member States from imposing stronger penalties than the penalties specified in the Directive.
 
“Coordinated  sanctions and minimum penalties for 20 criminal offences of this nature are a strong foundation for the European approach and it is welcome that Member States have the flexibility to impose stronger penalties where judged necessary.”
 
Importantly MEPs have called for the immediate removal of webpages containing child pornography hosted in their territory and to cooperate with third countries to seek the removal of child pornography content hosted outside their territory.
 
Voicing his support for this measure Liam Aylward MEP stated:
 
“Removing access to the offending material and increasing powers to allow the EU to block sites from outside of the EU are measures that will strengthen the tools available to Member States to tackle these criminal actions.”
 
“Serious criminal offences such as the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography require a comprehensive approach covering the prosecution of offenders, the protection of child victims, and prevention of the crimes involved.”