Spread the love

Avellon Williams 

KINGTON, JAMAICA- In light of the rapid rise of TikTok videos featuring Jamaican children, the Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison is encouraging parents and children to stop participating in what is usually “inappropriate and slack content.”

Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison /Courtesy/

She said her office has seen an increase in the number of videos and will do its due diligence to identify the children. It will also conduct social inquiries into their home situations to determine what may be fuelling the rise in age-inappropriate content and when criminal prosecution might be necessary.

“These videos have become increasingly popular in recent years. Nevertheless, we must identify where these children are first,” Gordon Harrison said.

She told a crowd of over 100 viewers at a meeting following yesterday’s lunchtime series, “Human Trafficking of Children,” in which she was the guest and Lay Magistrates’ Association of Jamaica was the host.

She was responding to a question from a guest who wanted to know how parents can deal with TikTok’s videos featuring “toddlers demonstrating intimacy such as passionate kissing”.

“This is very important because it indicates that there might be a superficial problem at home.”

“Firstly, where are these children seeing these things, and secondly, why are they recording themselves? Furthermore, what are the interventions taking place in the home?” she asked.

TikTok app /Courtesy/

To determine whether an inquiry is necessary, Gordon Harrison advised that a care and protection policy, including interviews with the parents, would be used.

“As soon as that is done, there is a conversation that has to take place with the parents, and this conversation often leads to more information on what needs to be done and what would be desirable to ensure that the children are well taken care of,” she explained.

“When it involves children, in particular, the case may end up before a court for what we call a care and prevention inquiry, which involves a home assessment interview and a parenting interview since those are criminal issues.”

These are matters where a supervision issue needs to be reviewed, verified, and perhaps rectified,” she said.

During the interview, Gordon Harrison was also asked if there was “organ harvesting” in Jamaica, which could include children. According to her, that type of behavior wasn’t evidenced, but it is possible.

“As of yet, we have not found any cases of home-grown organ harvesting. It is very possible, however, because we do have Jamaicans who traffic outside Jamaica and end up in all sorts of countries, and once they get to the location, depending on the demand in the market, they could, in fact, find themselves in that situation. But, we have no identifiable case that we have seen organ harvesting manifested in Jamaica at this time,” she explained.

Growing concern to disband TikTok app /Courtesy/

According to reports, TikTok’s app is creating a bad reputation for hosting dangerous viral “challenges,” which, at their worst, are said to result in severe injury or even death. 

Their online opponent says the app hosts videos that promote anorexia, bullying, suicide, and sexual exploitation of minors, in which minors appear and are viewed.

Child trafficking was one issue the Children’s Advocate discussed during her presentation. Those under the age of 18 who are illegally recruited, transported, transferred, or harboured by threats, coercion, or fear for the purpose of exploitation, either within or outside their country, are considered victims of child trafficking.

Betty Ann Blaine /Courtesy/

Betty Ann Blaine, founder of the non-governmental organization Hear the Children’s Cry, claimed that the laws created to protect children were “toothless”, and she urged authorities to enforce these laws more effectively.

“We have legislation that says child pornography is a crime, but every couple of weeks I get videos that are child porn, and some of them go viral,” Blaine explained.

 “If we’re investigating these crimes, how is it that people think they can film this, circulate it, and not be punished?” she said. “What is the point of enacting laws that look good on paper, but don’t enforce them? We have some toothless laws.”

About Author

Avellon Williams