Efforts are underway in Panama to create a country of digital inclusion. Launched by the National Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación – SENACYT) in 1999, the purpose of the Infoplaza Project is to provide low-cost Internet access to geographically remote areas or communities with limited resources in an effort to bridge the digital divide. Subsidized by the Panamanian government and supported by the Inter-American Development Bank, each individual Infoplaza is set up by the Infoplaza Foundation in partnership with one non profit organization.
Regarding standards for students, the Ministry of Education aims to educate its pupils in alignment with the six key categories as identified by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) in 2007: creativity and innovation; community and collaboration; effective research; critical thinking, problem solving and decision making; Digital Citizenship; and ICT operations and concepts.
The NGO, Partnership in Opportunities for Employment through Technology in The Americas (POETA) provides training to people with disabilities and to young people, both of whom have high rates of unemployment. The aim is that through providing training in the use of ICT, as well as courses on other topics, such as job readiness, combined with POETA’s support to students to find them job placements after they have completed their course, students will find employment.
Following a meeting between the Institute for Educational Innovation and Development (IDIE), Telefónica of Spain and various representatives of the Ministries of Education RELPE countries of the Latin American Network of Educational Portals in late 2008, the Panamanian government recognized the need to integrate ICT into the classroom and curriculum in order to educate its youth for life in the 21st century.
In May 2011, President Ricardo Martinelli announced that Internet access from the Infoplazas will be free from then on, and that the number was going to increase to 1,000 by the end of 2011.
2012 - Began the Panama’s Balboa Project an initiative led by the National Government through the Ministry of Education (MEDUCA), the Authority for Government Innovation (AIG), together with Intel. The program seeks to improve Panamanian education through the integration of ICT tools in the classrooms.
2015 - Panama participated in the Global Conference on CyberSpace 2015 and committed to inclusion policies and equitable opportunities for its citizens, as well as to secure Broad Band Internet and digital literacy, especially in rural areas.
Educational Community of Central America and Dominican Republic (CEDUCAR)
A virtual meeting place for the teaching community, this educational portal links eight Latin American countries and their respective educational systems. It provides up-to-date information, online courses, virtual communities, digital resources, newsletters, digital libraries and other educational materials.
Instituto Interamericano del Niño, la Niña y Adolescente (INN)
A specialized body of the Organization of American States (OAS) on children and adolescents policy that provides guidance to the different states on how they must assume protection.
INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization, with 190 member countries. Its mission is to enable police forces to collaborate globally to fight crime in the Internet age. Three areas of focus are crimes against children (with a focus on internet crimes and travelling sex offenders), cybercrime and human trafficking.
Latin American Network of Educational Portals (La Red Latinoamericana de Portales Educativos – RELPE)
Formed in 2004 by an agreement of the Ministries of Education from sixteen Latin American countries, a network of educational portals, allowing the collaboration and sharing of educational content between the member countries. It also provides for the construction of standards and methodologies of processes to position the network as a benchmark in the region and the world on collaborative management of educational content.
Latin American Network of ICT and Education (Red Iberoamericana de TIC y Educación – RIATE)
This organization promotes bilateral or multilateral cooperation for development through the exchange of information, initiatives and projects that promote the integration of ICT in education in 21 countries.
Are community centers enable public access to information and knowledge through the use of information, training programs, and Internet access, particularly economically disadvantaged communities and remote areas, helping to bridge the digital gap and incorporating the knowledge society.
Panama 2014 human Rights Report (2015)U.S. Department of State
Report on the violation of human rights during the year 2014. It also presents legislation and government initiatives and programs aimed to combat them.
Protecting Children from Cybercrime (2015)Simone dos Santos Lemos Fernandes, Legal Consultant, Global Forum on Law Justice and Development (GFLJD), Legal Vice Presidency, World Bank
This report studies different Latin American countries’ legislation on the prevention and combat of violence against children on the internet. It also identifies gaps and good practices on the protection of children from cybercrime.
Enabling inclusive development through information and communications technologies (ICT) : ICT sector policy note for Panama (2014)The World Bank
This Report presents the situation of the ICTs in Panama. Its aim is to provide recommendations for its growth by targeting infrastructure, policies, regulation, eServices, public data and skills.
The commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Latin America (2014)ECPAT International
This report studies the different forms of sexual exploitation of children inLatin America. Furthermore, it highlights the new emerging trends and how Latin america is addressing this phenomena
E-Governing in Latin America: A Review of the Success in Colombia, Uruguay, and Panama (2013)Miguel A. Porrúa
Document on the improvement in the economy of Colombia, Panama and Uruguay, after the introduction of ICTs.
Panama 2012 human Rights Report (2013)U.S. Department of State
Report on the violation of human rights during the year 2012. It also presents legislation and government initiatives and programs aimed to combat them.
ICT IN EDUCATION IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN A regional analysis of ICT integration and e-readiness (2012)UNESCO Institute for Statistics
UNESCO Institute for Statistics, based on survey responses from 38 countries reveals the extent to which factors such as education policy, teacher training, and infrastructure drive or hamper the integration of ICTs in schools.
Digital technologies meet the challenges of inclusive education in Latin America: some examples of good practices (2012)NU. CEPAL, European Commission
The publication includes a series of studies on policies and programs to integrate digital technologies into education in various Latin American countries. The document also presents eight cases of good practices in ICTs that can be used in the Latin American school system to contribute to inclusion and reduce social inequalities.
Republic of Panama - Laws governing Exploitative Child Labor Report (2011)United States Department of Labor
Report on the Laws of Panama that govern exploitative child labor.
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and the Internet (2011)Inter American Children’s Instirute
This is a report to the Organization of American States on the situation of the member states in the issue of commercial sexual exploitation and the impact of internet in their lives.
Missing Children in Central America: Research of Practices and legislation on Prevention and Recovery (2011)UNICEF and the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children
This report is about the situation of Central America in 2011 on the matter of trafficking and sexual exploitation. It pays close attention to legislation, some cases and the countries’ actions on this issue.
Los desafíos de las TIC para el cambio educativo (2009)Roberto Carneiro, Juan Carlos Toscano and Tamara Díaz
This is a collective Inter-American educational program which goals are projected until the year 2021. It analyses the challenges of the new era of education and the importance of incorporating ICT on it.
Concluding Observations of the Committee on the rights of the Child, Panama, U.N. (2004)Committee on the Rights of the Child
Periodic report on the progress of Panama after the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the convention on the Rights of the Child on children in armed con lift and the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
This section contains details of the country’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.
The age of simple majority in Panama is eighteen as defined in Article 125 of the National Constitution. The age of consent for sexual activity is twelve for girls and fourteen for boys, as defined by Article 34 of the country’s Civil Code.
- Article 174, Penal Code. This Article states that anyone who, by force or intimidation, commits sexual intercourse of any kind with another person of either sex, will be liable to imprisonment for five to ten years. The penalty will be increased to eight to twelve years’ imprisonment if the victim falls pregnant or suffers physical or psychological harm; if the perpetrator was the victim’s educator, priest or pastor; if the crime was committed jointly by two or more persons, or if the offense was committed in a particularly degrading or humiliating manner, among other aggravating circumstances. A further increased sentence of between ten to fifteen years’ imprisonment will apply if the offender knew he/she was carrying an incurable sexually transmitted disease or the HIV virus.
- Article 175, Penal Code. States, among other things, that sexual intercourse with another person, even without force or threat, is punishable by imprisonment for ten to fifteen years if the victim was under the age of fourteen.
- Article 176, Penal Code. Imposes a penalty of imprisonment for between two and four years for anyone who, by taking advantage of a position and mediating consent, has sexual contact with a minor aged fourteen or over but under eighteen. The sentence will increase to between five and a half and six years if the victim falls pregnant or is infected with a contagious sexually transmitted disease. It is a valid defense to a charge under this Article if the accused and the victim were in a relationship and the age difference does not exceed five years.
- Article 177, Penal Code. Defines the offense of sexually abusing another person without the act of penetration. The punishment for this offense is between one and three years’ imprisonment or a fine. An increased penalty of between two to four years’ imprisonment will apply if the victim is under the age of eighteen or the offender abused his/her position.
- Article 178, Penal Code. This Article states that anyone who harasses another person for sexual purposes will be liable to imprisonment for between one and three years or the equivalent in fines. This will increase to between two and four years’ imprisonment if the victim is under the age of eighteen or if the offender abused their position.
- Article 179, Penal Code. States that anyone who promotes the corruption of a minor under the age of eighteen by encouraging the victim to participate in or witness sexual acts that affect their psychosexual development will be punished by imprisonment for five to seven years. The penalty will be aggravated to between seven and ten years in prison of the victim is under the age of fourteen or fell pregnant; the offense was committed jointly by two or more persons; the offender used deception, violence, intimidation, abuse of authority or trust, or if the victim was infected with a sexually transmitted disease, among other aggravating circumstances.
- Article 180, Penal Code. Imposes a penalty of imprisonment for between four and six years and a fine of 150 to 250 daily rates for anyone who provides, abets, aids or organizes in any way the sexual exploitation of another person. An aggravated prison sentence of eight to ten years will apply if the victim is a minor, the offense was committed by deception, fraud, force, violence, abuse of trust or authority, the victim falls pregnant or is infected with a sexually transmitted disease, among other aggravating circumstances.
- Article 181, Penal Code. This Article states that anyone who facilitates, promotes, abets or organizes in any way the entry or departure into the Republic, or travel within Panama, of a person to engage in sexual activity or unauthorized unpaid sexual servitude will be liable to imprisonment for four to six years. This will be increased by half if the victim is aged between fourteen and seventeen, the offense is committed by means of deception, coercion, abduction or retention of immigrant documents, or where the offender provides such services as commercial sexual exploitation in an organized manner.
- Article 182, Penal Code. States that anyone who, by threat or violence, keeps a person in sexual servitude will be punished by imprisonment for three to five years.
- Article 183, Penal Code. States that anyone who promotes, encourages, facilitates or organizes the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of minors under the age of eighteen, within or outside of Panama, for the purpose of sexual exploitation or sexual servitude is guilty of an offense. The penalty is imprisonment for eight to ten years.
- Article 184, Penal Code. Imposes a penalty of imprisonment for five to ten years for anyone who manufactures, prepares or produces any pornographic material. The same penalty applies to anyone who offers, trades, displays, posts, disseminates or distributes over the Internet or any mass-media, any obscene material depicting a minor or simulation of such engaged in sexual activities. If the minor is under the age of fourteen or the offender acted for financial gain or as a member of a criminal organization, the penalty will increase to between ten and fifteen years’ imprisonment.
- Article 185, Penal Code. States that the possession of pornographic material for own personal use containing the image of a minor, whether real or simulated, is punishable by imprisonment for three to five years.
- Article 186, Penal Code. Defines the offense of paying in any form or gratifying a minor between the age of fourteen and seventeen, to perform a sexual act with himself/herself or a third person. The offense is punishable by imprisonment for five to eight years. Where the victim is under the age of fourteen the sentence will increase to six to ten years’ imprisonment.
- Article 187, Penal Code. This Article states that anyone who uses, allows or permits a minor to participate in acts or indecent exposure or pornography, whether or not actually recorded, photographed or filmed, will be liable to imprisonment for six to eight years. The same penalty applies to anyone who uses email, the Internet or any other regional or mass media to incite minors to engage in online sex, or to provide or stimulate sexual services, through any of the above means, by phone or in person. Article 189, Penal Code. States that anyone who has knowledge of the use of minors in pornography or sexual activities, whether the person obtained such information by means of his or her duties, job, business, profession, or by any other means, and fails to report it to the authorities, he or she will be imprisoned for a term between six months to two years. If the commission of the crime cannot be proved after the report, the person who reported it will be exempted of any liability with regards to his or her report to the authorities.
- Article 190, Penal Code. Imposes a penalty of imprisonment for eight to ten years for anyone who promotes, directs, organizes, advertises, invites, facilitates or arranges for any local or mass media, local or international sex tourism, the recruitment of a minor aged between fourteen and seventeen for sexual exploitation, whether this actually takes place or not. The penalty will increase by half the maximum sentence if the victim is under the age of fourteen.
2004 - The Organization of American States (OAS) (of which Panama is a member) unanimously adopted the Comprehensive Inter-American Cybersecurity Strategy, which aimed to enhance international cooperation on cyber security among member states.