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Jan 20, 2017

What to Look For with Cyber Crime

Cyber bullying is a crime that occurs every split of a second on social media. But the truth it, that at least for now, there is little that can be done to bring it under control. That is because we are ages behind as it relates to laws to prosecute these crimes. News Five’s Duane Moody finds out what you can look out for to protect victims of cyber crimes.


Duane Moody, Reporting

As technology becomes more and more accessible, so does cyber bullying. It can’t really be stopped because it is all on the internet.  Cell phones, laptops and tablets – just by the click of the camera, an unwanted picture or video can be posted to Whatsapp, Facebook, or any social media app. Attorney at law Diana Shaw and the founder of the Child Development Foundation in Belize says that they have been doing presentations with young people on nude photos and sex tapes that have been posted online. So what is the law that protects persons from cyber crimes?


Diana Shaw

Diana Shaw, Attorney

“Social media has completely changed the platform as it relates to internet and electronic crimes. And we do have some legislation that goes with electronic crimes, but we are way behind on this issue because their focus is more on preventing money laundering and trying to protect identity fraud and credit fraud and those kinds of things. When it comes to actual issues of sex tapes and nude pictures, this is a new area. Belize has some basic provisions in the criminal code. We do have a provision that deals with child pornography so the actual making of a sex tape that involves children and depicts images of children is a crime. The distribution of it is a separate event.”


Now the age of sexual consent is sixteen and if there is a sex tape—and without focusing on the act of distribution—the police can act by first looking to see if there is sexual activity against an under aged person. That’s unlawful sexual intercourse and the sex tape becomes evidence for the prosecution.


Diana Shaw

“If the person is sixteen, then the issue of consent arises. Did the person consent to the sexual activity that is depicted in the tape? And some can be extinguished if there is use of drugs, force, threats…in certain circumstances dependent on the relationship between the people. So somebody who has a relationship of authority over children, who is a caregiver of a children’s home, who has sex with somebody in the children’s home, there is no consent even if the person is sixteen. So you first look at that, to see if there are actually sexually offenses: such as rape, unlawful sexual intercourse that is actually being depicted. And then regardless of even if they consent to the distribution that could still be actionable.”


Even the touching a child on the buttons or breast is a sexual assault and it is a criminal offense of even depicting a person undressing and getting naked in front of a child is an offense. But the act of posting nudes and sex tapes on social media platforms is a form of the wider issue of cyber bullying, which can have adverse effects on children and adults alike.


Andrew Munnings, CARICOM Youth Ambassador

“Cyber bullying has become so popular that I don’t have to show you that I hate you, I can just go and create a fake email, create a fake account and I could go on your pictures and start blast you. We might think that physical bullying is worse, but it is not.  It comes from jealousy, it comes from self and all of these stuff. When I see young women degrading other young women and younger boys sending out nudes and younger girls who simply say I like this guys so just make I send him this. So there is work to be done at home, in the community and also media.”


There hasn’t been any known prosecution of cyber sex crimes locally and there is need for further strengthening of the current legislation in place. While that happens, the Department of Youth Services has been working along with youths and the community to create an awareness.


Eckert Middleton, Sexual Reproductive Health Manager, DYS

“It’s not something that hasn’t been going on—young people being sexually active. Adults could easily recall their sexual behavior and understand that hey if I had a cell phone, if my partner had a cell phone and I was under the influence, this could happen to me, if they put themselves ina that shoe.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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