Coronavirus Pune: Demand for child pornography surges during lockdown, says ICPF

ST CORRESPONDENT
Wednesday, 15 April 2020

“This is a blatant violation of the directions of the Honourable Supreme Court, and a violation of national policy. Pornographic websites are playing hide-and-seek with Indian law and judiciary by simply changing their website URLs. 

Pune: A study by Indian Child Protection Fund (ICPF) has found Pune city as one amongst other cities with high demand for child pornographic material (also referred to as ‘Child Sexual Abuse Material’) amid the COVID-19 lockdown period. The social impact Fund reports that since the lockdown, online data monitoring websites are reflecting an increase in demand for searches like ‘child porn’, ‘sexy child’ and ‘teen sex videos’. 

Data from one of the world’s largest pornography website in the world, also reveals that traffic from India has increased by 95 per cent between March 24-26 2020, as compared to their average traffic, before the lockdown. 

“This is a blatant violation of the directions of the Honourable Supreme Court, and a violation of national policy. Pornographic websites are playing hide-and-seek with Indian law and judiciary by simply changing their website URLs. 

“The Government of India must urgently crackdown on child pornography and also initiate a global dialogue for an international convention against child sexual abuse material,” said Nivedita Ahuja, spokesperson for ICPF.

ICPF has released a report titled ‘Child Sexual Abuse Material in India’, a research of child pornography demand in 100 cities in India like New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Indore. The overall demand for child pornography was an average of 5 million per month in 100 cities on the public web during December 2019, which has now spiked. The report also reveals up to 200 per cent increase in demand for violent content.

Metro cities like New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai, besides many Tier II and capital cities, which are seeing a sharp increase in Coronavirus cases, have been red-flagged by the December study as hotspots for child pornography. The organisation has implored authorities to further step up online vigil in these cities for potential exploiters. It must be noted that in February, Maharashtra Cyber wing, the nodal agency for the state’s cybersecurity, started an exercise named “Operation Blackface” to punish those involved in child pornography-related activities.

The similar pattern throughout India
Pornography has been banned in India. Yet, it continues to be one of the leading sponsors and consumers of child abuse content.

New Delhi was amongst the cities in the country where there is a high demand for child pornographic content, reports ICPF, thus affecting serious risks to its children during the lockdown.

The ICPF has demanded the consultants to further step-up online watch in these cities for potential exploiters. Also, the Rajya Sabha Committee on the issue, instituted by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, has recommended strict laws for Internet service providers and social media platforms, to hold them accountable for child abuse.

The India Child Protection Fund
The India Child Protection Fund (ICPF) is one of the largest child protection organisations in South Asia, working to end child trafficking and rape. It seeks to accomplish its mission by supporting various organisations with strategic funding and resources across South Asia.

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