The Director of Crime and Digital Forensic Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department of Ghana Police Service, Dr. Herbert Gustav Yankson, has urged the public to report sexual harassment they encounter on social media platforms to the police for investigations.
According to him, although many Ghanaian, especially young girls, encounter forms of sexual harassment on platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Tiktok, many of them fail to report or corporate with the police to arrest the perpetrators due to fear of being ridiculed by the public.
Dr. Yankson made the call at a public forum to mark the International Day of the Girl Child, which was organized by Plan Ghana International, a non-governmental organization (NGO), to educate young girls on internet safety.
He said “The Cyber Security Act criminalizes sexual harassments, sex extortion, and issuing of threat on any sexual image. The punishments for these offenses are also high, which ranges between 10 and 25 years.”
Dr. Yankson noted that “most young girls, who face these threats on their social media platforms even with all the evidence gathered by the police, mostly fail to corporate as their parents will like to protect family image”.
He said it was a criminal offense for females to put their nude pictures on social media for any reason.
Dr Yankson said “There is no control of what people put online, but if people put things online and those things are defined in the country’s Cyber Security Act or our Criminal code as crime, then such person(s) will have to face the law.
“We have arrested people who are even at the university level. That is why I keep on saying that, anything you do in the physical space which is offensive is also criminalizing in cyberspace.”
The Head of Programmes and Influencing of Plan Ghana International, Asum-Kwarteng Ahensah, called on stakeholders to be concern about the increasing cybercrime as most girls, especially, face numerous sexual attacks on the internet.
He said, “although Civil Society Organisations were doing their best to educate the youth about the menace, “it takes the collective efforts of stakeholders to address the situation.”
Other speakers at the forum include Executive Director of ChildOnline Africa, Awo Aidam Amenyah, and Programme Assistant Officer-In-Charge of Gender at United Nations Population Fund, Bawa Faisal.