Lucky Irani Circus 4 Express July 10 2012Recently in late 2015,  a bill was introduced in Washington DC, US to create the first federal protections for children who work as actors and models in the film, TV and modeling industries.

The Child Performer Protection Act of 2015 includes a maximum number of hours child models and actors can continuously work, a mandate that workers be compensated in cash wages, a requirement that 15 percent of a child’s earnings be placed in a trust until that child turns 18 or demonstrates urgent financial need, a “private right of action” for children who experience sexual harassment and a means for suing their employers for harassment at work.

Currently, child performers are not protected by federal law; their protections vary from state to state.

Member of the House of Representatives Grace Meng who introduced the bill explained the unique risks faced by child performers:

“Sometimes kids are asked to undress in front of others or are put in compromising positions at a young age. Some reality shows have children being filmed while changing clothes or going to the bathroom. Young performers can also have their earnings taken by their parents, leaving them with nothing when they turn 18.”

NGOs have challenged the latest amendment to a law on child pornography and prostitution in Japan which they say provides insufficient protection.

The law fails to protect children under the age of 15 performing acrobatics in revealing costumes to paying customers; photo sessions with pre-teen children who are nude or nearly nude; and sexually abusive images of children in manga comics, animated films and video games.

During a recent visit to the country, UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child pornography and prostitution Maud de Boer-Buquicchio responded to claims that a ban on manga would violate freedom of expression, acknowledging that artists and publishers faced difficulty in “finding the right balance” between artistic freedoms and the need to protect children, but that “materials which depicts children as sexual objects and is created for the purpose of fulfilling sexual gratification must be considered as child pornography.”

Until last year, Japan was the only G7 country where it was legal to own videos, photographs and other imagery depicting sexual crimes against children, provided there was no intention to sell them or post them online.