The bill outlaws production, possession, importation, exportation and distribution of child pornography in Jamaica. Convicted offenders are subject to fines and imprisonment of up to 20 years.
Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne said the bill was "technology-neutral" and dealt with issues in "our digital environment, which did not exist just a few years ago."
Jamaica is a signatory to the 1999 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, one of two international conventions aimed at combating child pornography, but has signed but not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. With the passage of the law the country can now ratify the Protocol as well.
There is support for the Jamaica Constabulary Force to be equipped to deal with the growing problem of online child pornography.
"I believe that we must invest in a dedicated Internet child-pornography unit to detect and prevent child-pornography offenses," Senator Sandrea Falconer proposed.
To become law, the bill must pass both houses of Parliament and be approved by the Jamaican Governor-General. It is expected to be introduced in the House of Representatives next week.