Stop internet grooming – Bodström

Sweden's justice minister Thomas Bodström wants new measures to protect children from paedophiles, he told the Social Democrat party conference on Tuesday.

“We must tackle the increasing number of people who lure children and young people over the internet,” he said as he opened the conference’s debate on welfare.

In England, it is now a criminal offence to “groom” children over the internet with the intention of having sex with them, and Bodström said that Sweden could also introduce such a law.

Bodström also said that he was looking to toughen child pornography laws so that the age of the victim has more impact.

The law currently defines child pornography as pictures of someone “who has not fully gone through puberty.”

Bodström wants to change the law so that it becomes illegal to own or distribute pornographic pictures of people under 18, even if they look older. The purpose of the change is to try and secure more convictions.

Under the new rules, Bodström said that in those cases where the subject of pictures can be identified, pictures will be illegal if the person is under 18. If the subject cannot be identified courts will be asked to judge whether they appear to be sexually developed.

Bodström said he welcomed the fact that the conference viewed crime as an integrated part of welfare policy.

“It is there that it belongs. We must never, ever, forget that there are social reasons behind crime,” he said.

TT/The Local