Warning: Police said there are small but persistent signs that child pornography is being accessed in Bermuda. *iStock photo
Warning: Police said there are small but persistent signs that child pornography is being accessed in Bermuda. *iStock photo

Days after police issued a warning about the illegality of child pornography, youth service organizations say they have no idea about the extent of the problem on the island.

Kelly Hunt, the director of special projects for The Coalition for the Protection of Children, says police should foster partnerships with community groups to prevent the distribution of child pornography and protect children from predators. Parents, she adds, should be involved and aware of their children’s online activity.

Police say that such cooperation is already happening.

Ms Hunt’s comments come days after police issued a reminder that viewing and sharing sexually explicit images of minors is, in fact, illegal.

“Anyone coming into possession of video images or photographic images should report these images to the police immediately,” reads part of the police statement. “If you receive any child abuse images via social media, Internet or your mobile phone, do not pass on the image or video no matter how good your intentions are, simply erase the image or report it. Anyone found in possession of an image by police are liable to arrest and prosecution.”

It’s unclear what, if anything, triggered the announcement; police spokesman Dwayne Caines chalks up the police statement to “Common social media practice, as there are small but persistent signs that this is continuously occurring.  We just want to ensure the community knows it is an offence to pass on those images.”

Organization’s like Ms Hunt’s, as well as SCARS (Saving Children And Revealing Secrets), say they are aware that child pornography is a problem on the island, but admit to having a hard time gauging the prevalence of such a crime.

“It is difficult to estimate how extensive a problem we have here in Bermuda, but the bottom line is that children should never be viewed as sexual objects,” said Hunt. “They are not willing participants and must be protected by the law and general community from the proliferation of images and/or videos that sexualize them.”

Debi Ray-Rivers, executive director of SCARS, has similar thoughts.

“It’s difficult to know how wide spread the issue is, but we do know that worldwide child pornography is a significant problem and Bermuda is no exception,” she says.  “Where there is child pornography there are children being sexually abused.”

She adds that the announcement “doesn’t surprise us. Child sexual abuse exists in Bermuda.”

Mr Caines says police have engaged with community organizations like the Sunshine League and the Department of Family Services to work on youth issues such as bullying, sexting, and sending inappropriate images over social media and mobile devices.