Demand for Child Porn surges in India amid COVID-19

An alarming report has revealed that there has been a surge in the demand for child porn in India amid COVID-19 and the ongoing lockdown.

Demand for Child Porn surges in India amid COVID-19 f

"This presents a chilling reality of the extreme threat"

According to the India Child Protection Fund (ICPF), there has been a significant increase in child porn in the country ever since the nationwide lockdown was implemented.

The online data monitoring websites are showing an increase in demand for searches like “child porn”, “sexy child” and “teen sex videos”.

In a report titled ‘Child Sexual Abuse Material in India’, the ICPF said:

“The nationwide lockdown to contain the COVID-19 outbreak has exposed a dark underbelly of our society, millions of paedophiles, child rapists and child pornography addicts have increased their activities online, making the internet extremely unsafe for our children.”

The survey was conducted in 100 Indian cities and it showed that the overall demand for child pornography was an average of 5 million per month on the public web during December 2019.

This has now spiked as there has been a 100% increase in demand.

The report said: “Most individuals were interested in generic CSAM content such as ‘school sex videos’ and ‘teen sex’.

“However, the trend was explicitly moving towards demand for more specific content.

“This means the individuals wanted to view content around specific age groups, locations, formats and sexual actions.”

Another disturbing fact that was revealed by the survey was that there has been a 200% increase in demand for violent content.

“While all child pornography is violent, 18 per cent individuals exhibited explicit intent for videos where children were choking, bleeding, tortured, in pain or screaming.

“The demand for this kind of content grew as much as 200 per cent during the project duration.

“This indicates that Indian men are not ‘satisfied’ with generic child pornography and demand violent and exploitative content.”

Cities like Kolkata, Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai were identified as hotspots for child pornography.

Many of the individuals were using Virtual Private Networks (VPN) to avoid being traced.

The increase comes after Pornhub saw a 95% increase in traffic in India between March 24-26. According to experts, the majority of that demand is for child porn.

The report said: “This presents a chilling reality of the extreme threat faced by India’s children during this period of lockdown.

“Demand for child sexual abuse material indicates children are more vulnerable to sexual predators.”

The police remain stretched with the ongoing COVID-19 situation but the ICPF hope that they can still take action.

They have recommended the creation of a CSAM Tracker by scaling up artificial intelligence tools.

It also sought the formation of a CSAM Offenders Registry for individuals found to be consuming, distributing and selling CSAM contents.

The report stated:

“As children spend more time online during the lockdown, they are often unsupervised.”

“International agencies like Europol, the United Nations and ECPAT are reporting that paedophiles and child pornography addicts have increased activity to target children online to ‘groom’ them, befriending them on social media, building an emotional connection and luring them to perform sexual activities through photos and videos.”

It was highlighted that Childline India received more than 92,000 calls in just 11 days during the lockdown.

Special Correspondent Zeba Warsi pointed out that the issue is not just happening online. She said:

“We do know that there is an actual impact on the ground of this as well because Childline, a child helpline in India, has also been receiving an increased number of phone calls from people.”

She suggested that child sex abuse online and offline is linked.

The report also referred to a Rajya Sabha AdhocCommittee, constituted by Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, which had made more than 40 recommendations to arrest this crime and end the impunity of perpetrators of online child sexual abuse.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”