THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Not only businesses but even children are forced to take refuge online to kill time during the COVID-induced break. With an increased used of internet, the formative minds are left at the mercy of sexual predators prowling the web in the seemingly interminable lockdown.
According to the statistics provided by Countering Child Sexual Exploitation (CCSE) team of the Kerala Police, there has been an alarming jump in digital footfall of child porn viewers from the state after the lockdown kicked in.
Paedophiles from the state are now trawling the net looking for child porn in huge numbers as revealed by the search for Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) on encrypted sites and chat rooms, the CCSE team has concluded after tracking the digital trends.
The team has so far found out the IP (internet protocol) address of around 150 people in the state, who have downloaded CSAM, while the actual number of those who are into this depravity is much, much more.
Manoj Abraham, Nodal Officer, Cyberdome, said the IP addresses are being collected using special tools since most of the users stick to encrypted web browsers to avoid being tracked. "We have already collected details of more than 150 persons in Kerala and action will be initiated against them," he said.
Meanwhile, a special cell has been created in Cyberdome to bust the ring of child abusers, who trade in CSAM through encrypted apps such as Telegram. A CCSE team official said they have detected several groups on Telegram engaged in circulating child abuse material.
"Some of the groups such as 'Sreyayude', 'Thavalam', 'Manthanga Girl' and 'Thanasertha', each of which had more than 200 members, were found to be sharing CSAM. The groups have been closed down with the help of Telegram and efforts are on to identify the group members and admins," said the official.
The officials suspect that CSAM is also being uploaded from the state. Many of the obscene contents uploaded recently have been shot inside homes and sleuths believe they were taken during the lockdown period. Considering the grave threat that habitual paedophiles pose to kids, CCSE officials have warned parents to monitor the browsing habit of their kids.
"Use of malware to activate webcams is a strong possibility," said the CCSE official. World over, the practice often followed by sexual predators is to befriend kids online and then prompt them to do lewd acts on webcams. The officials further pointed out that this could be used for further exploitation. Domestic abuse of kids is also a strong possibility as indicated by the nature of some of the uploaded stuff, they said.
ONLINE CHILD ABUSE SEES ALARMING JUMP
* 100- The traffic from India to international porn sites have soared 100 per cent during lockdown.
* 90- Consumption of CSAM is extremely high among men in India as 90 per cent of the traffic from India comes from men.
* 150- Identity of 150 child porn viewers from Kerala have been established using IP address tracking tools
* 200- Many WhatsApp and Telegram groups, which circulated CSAM, each had at least 200 members from Kerala