Police probe Soweto child-porn reports

Police are investigating reports of a pornographic website with nude pictures of girls from Soweto as young as nine, according to Beeld newspaper on Thursday.

The head of the Film and Publication Board’s child protection unit, Goodness Zulu, said the photos had captions with the girls’ names and surnames and places of birth.

They were all between the ages of nine and 13.

“About two weeks ago we received a tip-off from a member of the public on our anti-pornography website. We reported the matter to the police and when we checked on Monday, the website had already been shut down,” said Zulu.

It was believed that the site was hosted by South Africans on a server abroad.

One of the more recent photos was dated November 8.

Zulu said children were often promised cash, cellphones or airtime as payment to pose naked.

“Our children are very vulnerable. Some are orphans, but they still would like to have a cellphone.

“During the festive season children use the internet and their cellphones more often. This is the time that paedophiles are looking for children, and they use online chatrooms and MXit to get to them.”

Zulu said the Film and Publication Board expected incidents such as these to increase as the 2010 Soccer World Cup drew nearer.

“We realise paedophiles are going to abuse the opportunity to make and distribute child pornography.

“They think all eyes will be on the soccer and they won’t be caught out. But we’re putting strategies in place to put a stop to that,” said Zulu.

Beeld said the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit was investigating the report.—Sapa

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