The position of the NGO "La Strada-Ukraine" regarding the draft Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine on Ensuring Freedom from Interference in a Person's Private Life" r/n 9623
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine registered the project of the Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine on Ensuring Freedom from Interference in a Person's Private Life" r/n 9623, which provides for the decriminalization of acts related to the importation into the territory of Ukraine of pornographic works, images or other objects nature, their manufacture and storage, as well as decriminalizes the creation and maintenance of places of debauchery and prostitution. This caused a high level of resonance and discussion in society.
We note that the NGO "La Strada-Ukraine" does not support the adoption of the said draft law in the proposed version and considers it to be such that it can cause significant damage and increase the risks of violence and sexual exploitation of women based on the following.
The draft law proposes part 1 of Art. 301 of the Criminal Code should be amended as follows: "Distribution or sale of pornography without the consent of the person depicted in it, or the production of such products with the image of a person who is not aware of such actions." The proposed offense is too narrow and does not take into account other actions, including those bordering on pornography, stalking and sexual harassment, such as threatening to distribute pornography without the consent of the person depicted in it, or sending it to a person who did not give their consent. receiving, or fake pornography, when a person's face is superimposed on a pornographic image.
The outlined problem is really timely for Ukraine, however, these actions in their essence are not so much about restricting the circulation of pornographic materials and obtaining profit/other benefits from it, but about committing violence against a specific person. It is advisable to consider the possibility of adding a separate article to the Criminal Code criminalizing such acts, which would provide for liability for the distribution or sale of pornography without the consent of the person depicted in it, or the production of such products with the image of a person who is not aware of such actions, increasing the liability for such actions , in particular in the context of combating violence against women in cyberspace, as a separate component of the crime.
In general, before changing or introducing new legislative approaches to the regulation of pornography in Ukraine, it should be taken into account that the country is in a state of full-scale war, experiencing a surge in unemployment and economic instability, and the number of IDPs and refugees is constantly growing. Accordingly, the risks for such persons also increase. Therefore, in these conditions, the adoption of the proposed changes can increase the already existing inequality, lead to an increase in the level of violence against women and their sexual exploitation (after all, women are most often the object of the production of pornographic materials), as well as increase their vulnerability, which is absolutely unacceptable.
As for the exclusion of Article 302 of the Criminal Code "Establishment or maintenance of places of debauchery and solicitation", the explanatory note to the draft law does not state that such an exclusion is sufficiently justified. Therefore, the draft law actually decriminalizes the creation or maintenance of places of debauchery without any alternative legal regulation of responsibility for such acts. The dangers of this legislative decision are the same as in the case of Article 301, but are more obviously expressed.
In general, the issue of the production of pornographic products and the decriminalization of the creation and maintenance of places of debauchery, in our opinion, is not at all appropriate to be raised in one draft law, since by their nature and influence they are completely different, while at the same time they are united by the increased vulnerability of women in this area , especially in the conditions of a full-scale war and its consequences.
The adoption of the mentioned Draft Law will violate the approaches established by the Council of Europe Convention on the prevention of violence against women and domestic violence and the fight against these phenomena, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, because it can create favorable conditions for the corresponding crimes in wartime and increase vulnerability women
Taking into account the above, the Draft Law "On Amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine on Ensuring Freedom from Interference in a Person's Private Life" r/n 9623 is inappropriate, as it can cause significant harm and increase the risks of violence and sexual exploitation of women, and also violate the approaches established by the above-mentioned Conventions.