Rise of Online Sexual Exploitation and Child Pornography

A world without the internet cannot be visualized now from instantly looking up for information, to meeting our entertainment needs, to being a one-stop-shop for millions of things, we have tons to thank for when it comes to the online. However, the use of the internet has benefits as well as detriments. Online platforms are gradually becoming the tract for cybercrimes.

Sexual Exploitation of Children:

According to the UN definition of sexual exploitation of children: the utilization of children for sexual purposes in exchange for cash or in-kind favors between a customer, intermediary or agent et al. who benefit from the trade children for these purposes

In the case of State of West Bengal v/s Animesh Boxi, the accused took possession of some private and obscene photographs of the victim by hacking into her smartphone, blackmailed her by threatening to upload the stolen pictures and videos on the web, and subsequently uploaded her private pictures and intimate videos onto an obscene website.

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The District Court of West Bengal convicted the accused under sections 354A, 354C, 509 of IPC, and sections 66E and 66C of the IT Act. The court held that the offense u/s 354D of the IPC is proved as the victim was not only stalked online but also suffered from ‘virtual rape’ every time a user of the openly accessible global website viewed the video. The court commented that deterrence was one of the prime considerations for convicting the accused and an inadequate sentence would do more harm than justice because it would undermine public confidence in the seriousness of the issue.

What is Child Pornography:

According to the Ministry of women and Child Development, pornography is defined as “any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child which incorporates photographs, videos, digital or computer-generated image indistinguishable from an actual child, a picture created adapted or modified but appear to depict a child”.[1]

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During the lockdown, the number of children watching porn in India has rapidly increased to 95%[2]. On 20th June 2020, a case was registered in Coimbatore where minor boys were watching porn on their smartphones and made an 11-year-old girl look at and tried to sexually assault her. Easy availability of sexual materials is also a factor for them to visualize sexual activities, increasing their expectations due to which they end up conducting such crime at this early age.

What are Laws in India:

To prevent any crime in society there must be strict laws, penal provisions, and strict implementation of such laws. The expansion of internet technology and its use needs to be supervising under some restrictions. To create deterrence within the mind of abusers, preventives measures must be taken by rules and regulations. To protect child rights and prevent the sexual exploitation of a child and cybercrime the Parliament of India has passed various laws such as –

-The Constitution of India, 1949

-Indian Penal Code, 1860

-The Information and Technology Act, 2000

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-The POCSO Act, 2012

Suggestions:

The state should enact and implement more strengthen laws to prevent Cybercrime and sexual exploitation of children. Children are innocent, they are unaware of the fact of how the internet could destroy their future. It is the responsibility of parents that they should educate and guide their children about the pros and cons of the use of the internet and its consequences. Parents should talk about sex with their children. The schools and colleges must provide sexual education to the children instead of hiding it, they should also create awareness through campaigns, workshops, theatre play. If the children will aware of these important things the risk associated with the use of the internet will decrease.

  1. https://www.theweek.in/wire-updates/national/2019/07/11/des52-wcd-child%20pornography.html#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20new%20definition,appear%20to%20depict%20a%20child%22.

 

  1. Pareek, A. J. & Y. (2020, June 23). Child pornography in India during the lockdown: Are our children safe? Retrieved  July 7, 2020, from https://www.livelaw.in/columns/child-pornography-in-india-during-the-lockdown-are-our-children-safe-158778

 

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