Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – The upper house of parliament has passed a bill that criminalises for the first time sexual assault against minors, child pornography and trafficking.

The amendment to the penal code, which will go into force after being ratified by the president, also raises the age of criminal responsibility from seven to 10 years of age.

Under the revised legislation, sexual assaults will now be punishable by up to seven years in prison. Previously, only rape was criminalised.

Likewise, child pornography, which was previously not mentioned in the law, will be be punishable by seven years in prison and a fine of 700,000 rupees ($7000).

The new amendment also criminalises child trafficking within Pakistan. Previously traffickers were only liable for punishment if they removed children from the country.