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Summary of the law

THE NEW THAI LAW TO PROTECT CHILDREN

Thai Penal Code Amendments No. 24 (2015) on Child Pornography Offenses

The main objective of this law is to protect children under the age of thirteen, including infants under the age of two.

The key points of the new law include:

  • Anyone under eighteen is a child, regardless of if the person has attained ”adulthood” through marriage. The main objective of this law is to protect prepubescent children, under twelve or thirteen, the group found in at least 80% of child sexual abuse material worldwide [source: InHope.org], and infants under the age of two, who are also increasingly at risk. However, this law was written to protect all children under the age of 18 (following the UN CRC definition of a child as anyone up to the age of 18 years).
  • “Stories” are included under the definition, together with images, video, audio, etc. This means that stories promoting sexual abuse of children are also illegal.
  • Intent is decisive. The intentional possession of child sexual abuse material for sexual gratification is illegal. It does not matter if this material is possessed for personal sexual gratification or for the sexual gratification of other people. If this illegal material is sent to you without your knowledge or without your solicitation, then you should inform the sender or report the incident to the police. Do not forward child sexual abuse material to your contacts; sharing signals intentional possession.

PUNISHMENT

Production, dissemination, trading, etc. = 3-10 years imprisonment
Forwarding = maximum 7 years imprisonment
Possession = maximum 5 years imprisonment

The old law

  • Illegal to trade, distribute or produce “obscene” material
  • No definition of what was “obscene”
  • Legal to possess obscene material
  • No specific legislation with reference to such material depicting children

 

The new law

  • Child sexual abuse material, or child pornography, is acknowledged to require a firm criminal justice response.
  • Anyone in possession, which is not unintentional, of child sexual abuse material shall be arrested and brought to court.
  • Anyone intentionally accessing child sexual abuse material could possibly be committing an offence and risks being arrested. This development is in the hands of the judiciary.
  • All child sexual abuse material offences can allow for international cooperation under the UNTOC under certain circumstances.