Data records 100% spike in cases of child porn, govt eyes system to stem surge | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Data records 100% spike in cases of child porn, govt eyes system to stem surge

The government is considering developing an institutional mechanism to tackle online child pornography in the country, which has recorded an alarming surge with official data showing 100% increase in cases during 2013-2014.

india Updated: Dec 28, 2016 00:34 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
Official data shows a 100% increase in online child pornography cases between 2013-2014. A 2007 government survey report said 4.46% of 12,000 kids had been photographed in the nude.
Official data shows a 100% increase in online child pornography cases between 2013-2014. A 2007 government survey report said 4.46% of 12,000 kids had been photographed in the nude.(Shutterstock)

The government is considering developing an institutional mechanism to tackle online child pornography in the country, which has recorded an alarming surge with official data showing 100% increase in cases during 2013-2014.

The Union women and child development ministry has set up a group, called National Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse, to recommend measures to deal with such cases.

“For the first time the government is taking notice of the severity of the problem. Child pornography has to be dealt seriously. We need to institutionalise our defences against child pornography,” women and child welfare minister Maneka Gandhi said.

The group, comprising representatives from the government, NGOs, law-enforcement agencies and social media, will meet on January 16.

The country’s doesn’t have an institutional mechanism, though National Crime Records Bureau data say there has been a 100% spike in the number of cases filed under “publication and transmission of obscene” material, including child sexual abuse, between 2013 and 2014.

There is no accurate data on the number of children being exploited in pornographic material — either being forced to show their sexual organs or made to engage in sexual acts — but a 2007 government survey report say 4.46% of 12,000 kids had been photographed in the nude.

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“Even if an internet user stumbles upon a child sexual abuse image in India and reports it, there is no specialised expertise in the country to take down images as many of them are hosted in servers located outside India. Currently, there is no way to block the content from India,” said Uma Subramanian, founder and co-director of the Aarambh India, a joint initiative of ADM Capital Foundation and Prerana, an anti-trafficking NGO.

The website, www.aarambhindia.org, hosts India’s first online hotline for reporting child pronography.

In August, the women and child development ministry launched “e-box” – an online complaint box with www.ncpcr.gov.in, where any child can report sexual harassment or abuse in school, home or elsewhere.

“But if someone reports a child sexual abuse image hosted on some site, there is not much the ministry can do except lodging a police complaint,” said an official.

Subramaniam’s organisation has joined hands with the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), an industry self-regulatory body for removing child porn.

“As and when a report is made on the India hotline, technical experts from IWF team assesses it and based on the criminality of the content takes it down, blocks the URL and removes it from cyberspace. Through the international network with Interpol, law-enforcement agencies start their investigation to catch those involved,” Subramanian said.

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