MXit child porn ‘horrific’

2011-08-13 17:39

The child pornography pictures confiscated by the Hawks were “horrific” a source said.

Visibly shaken when describing the content, he said he couldn’t believe his eyes.

“It was a barrage of pictures of young girls aged between five and 10, some older. They were very, very explicitly shown,” he says.

“Some were dressed up in costumes and made to stand in specific positions. One posed with a sword and armour, naked.

“One was of a girl of about five, wearing a white dress and lying on a bed, looking terrified. Her genital area was exposed. That picture was labelled ‘The Wedding’. Horrendous,” he said.

The source, who asked that his name wasn’t mentioned, said all the pictures had labels and the suspect claimed he had taken the pictures himself.

“I shudder to believe it. There were pictures of at least 20 different girls.”

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela said the court case would be a logistical nightmare because the suspect operated in at least three provinces.

The suspect was currently in custody in Durban, where investigators took him on Friday to search one of his properties.

The case is likely to be heard there (in Durban), he said.

Polela added that their investigation had not been concluded and that he could not rule out more arrests.

MXit, free online mobile instant messenger and social network, said it had taken a tough stance on cyber crime
by adopting some of the most stringent social networking security guidelines available.

The company was working with police to apprehend those who abused its platform and offered officers social media training. MXit also cooperated with the police’s cyber-crimes unit.

Among others, the following security measures were in place:
» Chatrooms were moderated for up to 14 hours a day – especially in teen zones;

» A chatroom-blocking feature was available for parents with children of a sensitive age;

» In compliance with the Child Protection Act, MXit did not allow adults to engage with children or teens. All chatrooms were split into the age groups to ensure interaction was age appropriate; and

» The private chatroom feature was disabled to users aged between 13 and 17 years old.

This measure protected children from “going private” with strangers.

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