The Alarming Increase in Child Pornography in India During Lockdown

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India has been in tight lockdown since 23rd march to fight the COVID 19 pandemic. Since then, both children and adults are spending more time on the internet. Shocking and alarming data came to notice. It showed there had been a 200 per cent spike in searches of child pornography videos. It includes videos that show how children bleed, tortured, and are in pain.

This spike in child porn consumption indicates the presence of addicts online. These people are child rapists and pedophiles. There has been an increase in traffic on sites like Pornhub from India by 95 per cent. Highlighting the increase in online child porn traffic, the national commission for protection of child rights (NCPCR) has taken severe steps. They sent a notice to google, twitter, and WhatsApp editing gaps on these platforms which make childless vulnerable.

Issue of Rise in Child Pornography and ICPF Report

The Indian Child Protection Fund (ICPF) is an organization. It works for child protection and trafficking. It monitors certain key words online like “child porn, sexy child, teen sex videos, etc.” on websites. Pornhub is one of the most popular sites ICPF has mentioned.  It tracks the traffic on such websites and releases them then report. The published report after the lockdown saw an increase of 95 per cent traffic on such sites. A report released by Nivedita Ahuja, manager technology from ICPF warns citing the report.

Pornhub has fuelled that increase. It made its premium content free during the lockdown. A significant segment of those spikes is the demand for child pornography content. Online data substantiate it by monitoring websites during the same time. It shows that search for keywords like- “child porn, sexy child, and teen sex videos” has jumped, and is expected to spike in the weeks ahead.

Reasons for the spike in Child Pornography 

The spike in child pornography can be due to various reasons. The schools have been closed and have shifted the education system to virtual mode. It could be one of the reasons children are spending more time at home and on online platforms. In this digital era, stopping children from exposure to digital technology is impossible. However, the online platform continues to lure sexual abuse through social media. Due to this violation during the lockdown, children are more vulnerable to it than ever. Children use the internet to socialize, play online games, attend classes, and webinars. On the internet, they may get prone to sex abuse criminals and online sexual predators. Examples of such are cyber trafficking, sexting, live streaming of child sexual abuse.

Numerous porn sites in India are now banned. But the predators have their virtual private network (VPN). Through this, they upload and access child sexual abuse material or child pornography.

Indian Law for Child pornography 

Indian law for child pornography imposes penal as well as a monetary consequence on production, distribution, storage, circulation of any sort of pornography content involving a child or children. There are two legislations under Indian Law which are-

  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and its allied rules (POCSO); and
  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) and its allied gridlines.
  • Under POCSO, children under 18 years of age are protected from sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography offence. POCSO defines child pornography as:

“any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child. Which includes photography, videos, digital or computer-generated image indistinguishable from an actual child and image created, adapted or modified, but appear to depict a child.”

According to POCSO whoever does so shall be punished with imprisonment not less than five years and not less than seven years for a second or subsequent conviction. A person who uses it for commercial purposes involving a child shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine or both.

  • The IT act deals with rampant cybercrime and has provisions for doing so. There are various sections which specify certain guideline: –

Section 67 B of the Act criminalizes pornographic depiction. It provides punishment for publishing, browsing or transmitting child pornographic in electronic form.

Section 79 of the IT Act includes that there shall be due diligence by intermediaries while discharging their duties and shall inform the user of computer resources to act accordingly.

Section 292 of the IPC brings pornographic material under the area of criminal law.

Way Ahead

The question arises whether these laws are efficient on child pornography and child sexual abuse. The more significant problem along with enforcement of laws are-

  • Lack of action taken against intermediaries who distribute child pornography content. They are using the VPN system to circulate then material. They should be tracked because banning certain porn sites have not affected them.
  • Need for awareness – Lack of awareness often leads to arise severe issues. These topics should be widespread, and their ill effects should be debated. They can spread awareness through television, internet, radio, social media, etc. There should be mandatory programs under all educational institutions, for spreading awareness on child pornography.
  • Parental control – Child pornography has been increasing during the lockdown. Parents should put extra effort into their children by keeping control and monitoring their child’s internet activities. At this hour, it is very crucial and vital to educate their children about such issues. And talk to them about online safety, monitoring the web browser, etc.

Maintaining a comfortable environment at home is critical. It will help the children talk about what is in their minds. Finally, building awareness and implementing laws could be the end of child pornography.


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