September 12, 2019 / 3:20 PM / 4 days ago

Germany to criminalize 'disgusting' practice of upskirting

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Germany will take steps to criminalize upskirting, the justice minister announced on Thursday, calling the behavior “disgusting”.

The move follows growing calls for a law from victims of upskirting - the surreptitious filming or taking of photographs under girls’ and women’s clothes.

England and Wales outlawed upskirting this year, and France in 2018.

Upskirting has become an increasing concern in many countries following the advent of mobile phone cameras. In many cases images or videos are shared on porn sites, social media or other platforms.

Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht told the Bundestag - Germany’s lower house of parliament - that her ministry would begin work on drafting a law.

“The term upskirting hides a disgusting intrusion into women’s privacy ... And that’s why I’m determined to tackle the issue and change the legal situation,” Lambrecht said.

Calls to criminalize upskirting have been fuelled by a petition launched in April by two German women, one of whom had been upskirted twice as a teenager.

More than 90,000 people have signed the petition kickstarted by film student Hanna Seidel and journalist Ida Sassenberg.

They were inspired by British activist Gina Martin, who spearheaded a similar campaign which led to a new law in April.

Other countries that have passed laws on upskirting include Finland, Australia, New Zealand and India.

Reporting by Emma Batha @emmabatha; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org

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