Experts in the Swiss criminal and legal system are calling for clarification and milder penalties — and for greater efforts to be made in schools and at home — to deal with the rising number of Swiss minors who, intentionally or not, break Swiss pornography laws. Last year, Swiss minors were sentenced for pornography, representing a nearly five-fold increase from 47 cases in , Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung reported external link on Sunday. In Switzerland, children aged 10 and over are regarded as criminally responsible if they violate laws, but young people between the ages of 10 and 18 who commit crimes are subject to a special form of criminal law, known as juvenile criminal law, the government says. Younger children are not criminally responsible, it says external link , but the parents of a child under the age of 10 must decide whether and how to react to the child's conduct. If necessary, the guardianship authority can order a child protection measure.
Operation Daylight was started after Europol received information from Swiss police last year revealing a vast network of criminals involved in the sexual exploitation of minors, spokeswoman Claire Georges said. So-called intelligence packages have detailed information about suspects and could for instance include information such as computer IP addresses, Georges added. Although no specific countries were mentioned, Italian police said in a separate statement that many of those arrested were unknown to law enforcement and had never before been outed. Georges told AFP that victims varied in age but that there was a worrying and growing trend of sexual abuse of babies under the age of 18 months.
Pornography in Europe has been dominated by a few pan-European producers and distributors, the most notable of which is the Private Media Group that successfully claimed the position previously held by Color Climax Corporation in the early s. Most European countries also have local pornography producers, from Portugal e. Naturalvideo to Serbia e. Hexor , who face varying levels of competition with international producers. The legal status of pornography varies widely in Europe; its production and distribution are illegal in countries such as Ukraine, Belarus and Bulgaria, while Hungary is noted for having liberal pornography laws. In Albania , pornography is illegal only for producing, delivery, advertising, import, selling and publication of pornographic materials in persons under 18 years old. Child pornography is strictly prohibited.
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