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Chennai kids at risk as demand for child porn spikes during COVID-19 lockdown: Study

Metros 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

Published: 13th April 2020 07:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th April 2020 07:42 PM   |  A+A-

rape, crime against woman, crimes against woman

For representational purpose (Express Illustrations)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Chennai is among the cities with a high demand for child sexual abuse material, posing grave risks to its children during the COVID-induced lockdown, according to a study of child pornography demand in 100 cities in India by the Indian Child Protection Fund (ICPF).

The ICPF reports that since the lockdown, online data monitoring websites are showing an increase in demand for searches like ‘child porn’, ‘sexy child’ and ‘teen sex videos’.

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

“This is a blatant violation of the directions of the Supreme Court and a violation of national policy. Pornographic websites are playing hide-and-seek with Indian law and judiciary by simply changing their URLs. The Government of India must urgently crack down on child pornography and initiate a global dialogue for an international convention against child sexual abuse material,” asserted Nivedita Ahuja, spokesperson for the ICPF, in a statement.

The ICPF has released the report titled ‘Child Sexual Abuse Material in India’. The overall demand for child pornography was an average of 5 million searches per month in 100 cities on the public web during December 2019, which has now spiked. The report reveals up to 200 per cent increase in demand for violent content which shows children “choking”, “bleeding” and “tortured”. This suggests that “Indian men are not ‘satisfied’ with generic child pornography and demand violent and exploitative content.”

Metros 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 study as hotspots for child pornography. The organisation has implored authorities to further step up online vigil in these cities for potential exploiters.

The report cites Europol, United Nations and ECPAT reports which say that children are now more prone to online grooming and sexual coercion and also refers to recent news of the Childline India Helpline reporting more than 92,000 SOS calls asking for protection from abuse and violence, 11 days into the lockdown. “This presents a chilling reality of the extreme threat faced by India’s children during this period of lockdown," the ICPF affirmed.

The ICPF has warned that this indicates millions of paedophiles, child rapists and child pornography addicts have migrated online, making the internet extremely unsafe for children. Without stringent action, this could result in a drastic rise in sexual crimes against children.

The Rajya Sabha Committee on the issue, instituted by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, has recommended stringent laws to hold internet service providers like Jio and Airtel and platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accountable for child abuse enabled by these companies. The ICPF reiterated the urgent need to implement these recommendations.



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