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CBI Conducts Raids At 77 Locations In Connection With An Online Child Sexual Abuse Racket

Stepping up the heat on child sexual abusers, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recently carried out raids at 77 locations nationwide and arrested seven accused in a case related to alleged online child sexual abuse and exploitation. The accused were allegedly sharing videos with child sexual abuse content on some websites and various groups of individuals based in different parts of the country and abroad were indulging in circulating, storing and viewing them through various social media platforms and third-party storage and hosting platforms.

Also Read: "Sexual Intent Key, Not Skin-To-Skin Contact", Says Supreme Court On Quashing Controversial Verdict By Bombay HC

Talking to NDTV about the initiative of CBI and the cause behind online child sexual abuse, Rakshit Tandon, Cyber Security Expert, said,

Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) has become a concern. Recently, we have seen a lot of cases and CBI had started this good work in October 2020 when they raided some places and found people circulating CSAM. The question here is that it is very difficult for platforms to check what kind of content you are sharing and storing on their cloud services because then it becomes a violation of an individual's privacy.

As per the initial leads with CBI, there are more than 50 groups across continents having more than 5,000 offenders sharing child sexual abuse material. The CBI is coordinating with sister agencies through formal and informal channels to nab the offenders. In a recent crackdown on child pornography codenamed Operation Masoom, Delhi Police also registered 160 FIR's and arrested 97 offenders. More such operations are underway by various state and central agencies.

Also Read: 13-year-old Repeatedly Raped By Father, Cousin, Threatened With Dire Consequences

A recent report by Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation's partner organization, India Child Protection Fund (ICPF) revealed that the consumption of child pornography content in India spiked by 95 per cent during the lockdown.

Global bodies including the United Nations, Europol, ECPAT also flagged off the increase in demand for child sexual abuse material and other forms of online child sexual abuse including grooming and sexual coercion during the pandemic phase.

Also Read: 16-year-old From Bihar, Raped While Out To Fetch Water, Awaits Justice

The ICPF is providing support to police departments in Kerala and Maharashtra to step up surveillance and zero in on online child sex offenders.

While talking about the reason behind the rising trend in child sexual abuse, Jyoti Mathur, Executive Director (Training), Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation, focused on almost everything moving online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She said,

The students and children were put on the internet without any prior preparation. People were exploring the internet; they had no option of going out of the house so they were on the internet, phones or laptops, searching for different websites recommended by their friends. Gradually, this kind of material became more easily accessible, known and people started to search for it.

Also Read: Sexual Harassment Reports Prompt Tamil Nadu Government To Issue Guidelines For All Schools On Students' Safety

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