Child pornography spiked during lockdown, 41 arrested in Kerala: Cops

Updated on Oct 05, 2020 07:27 PM IST

Some of the arrested include IT professionals, said the cyber wing of Kerala police.

Most of the arrested were found to be using all kinds of encrypted handles to upload and download such material and circulating them on social media platforms. (HT representative photo)
Most of the arrested were found to be using all kinds of encrypted handles to upload and download such material and circulating them on social media platforms. (HT representative photo)
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram | By

In a statewide crackdown on child pornographers, the cyber wing of Kerala police on Monday arrested 41 people, including some IT professionals, and registered 268 cases, said additional director general of police Manoj Abraham.

Most of the arrested were found to be using all kinds of encrypted handles to upload and download such material and circulating them on social media platforms. Many electronic devices and phones were seized from them. Some of the arrested include IT professionals.

The accused were identified and arrested with the help of Cyberdom (specialised wing of cyber police), Interpol and other agencies, said Abraham. Most of the seized material pertains to children between the age group of 6-15 years. Officials have code-named the operation ‘P Hunt 20.2’ and carried out intense searches at various places across the state in the last three weeks.

“The biggest impact of the pandemic, besides health issues, is online crime. True, lockdown has increased digital usage and this also spiked use in pornography, especially involving minor children. Many think that darknet use will go unnoticed but they are mistaken. In many cases, it looks like sickness that requires medical treatment as many are repeat offenders,” said Abraham, a decorated specialised officer in cyber crime.

During the raid, Cyberdom also found that some of the users had formatted their smart phones every three days to avoid detection. Use of malwares to activate the webcams of the victim and to steal information of children was also detected. “Many obscene pictures, videos inside homes have been uploaded in recent times, which clearly show that most of the pictures have been taken from Kerala,” he said, adding abuse of children locked up in their homes was quite evident in many cases.

Last year, the Kerala police had constituted a special wing called Counter Child Sex Exploitation (CCSE) with special emphasis on preventing online child exploitation and child pornography. The team works in close contact with different agencies - Interpol, Crime Against Children unit and International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC).

Watching and sharing child pornographic images, videos and literature is a crime in the country and offence can invite a five-year-jail term and maximum fine of 10 lakh.

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