In its biggest public crackdown on child exploitation material, the CBI raided 77 locations on one day across India, where a team in Odisha was attacked. The raids were conducted after the agency registered as many as 23 cases against 83 persons in matters pertaining to child abuse and exploitation. On November 16, the intelligence agency conducted operations at 77 locations across 14 states in India.
The searches were conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Odisha, etc. Reportedly, the CBI has already detained 10 people in the matter.
According to the compilation of reports of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), India stood on top of the list with most online content of child abuse coming from India. Reportedly 11.7% of the total reports came from India. Pakistan and Bangladesh both trailed behind India with 6.8% of all reports and 3.3% of all reports respectively.
Meanwhile, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data from 2018 stated that as many as 109 children were abused every day in that particular year. What was more alarming, was the fact that it was a 22% surge in cases from 2017.
The sordid saga of child exploitation reveals that every child that’s abused is a youth that’s destroyed, and an adulthood that is ruined.
Although acts like the Information Technology Act and POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act have provisions which lays out punishment to someone found guilty of committing heinous crime, the situation still demands to be tackled head on.
The Facts of the Matter
The CBI conducted its biggest nationwide crackdown of online child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) peddlers. The intelligence agency carried out a coordinated group raid across 77 locations in India. These 77 locations were spread across as many as 14 states and so far, 10 persons have already been detained.
The Mission Kicked off On Children’s Day
It all started on Children’s Day 2021 – November 14, when 23 separate FIRS were registered against as many as 83 accused persons. The FIRs were lodged thanks to the joint efforts of CBI unit and OCSAE (Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Investigation) unit. For the uninitiated the OCSAE unit in India monitors, investigates, prevents and takes down all the posting and distribution of child sexual exploitation content online.
Offenders Based in India, Canada, Pakistan, UK and other Countries
The investigation started with the CBI and OCSAE units monitoring over 50 social media groups with thousands of offenders. While some of the offenders are based in India, some are based in countries like Pakistan, Canada, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Egypt and even the United Kingdom.
A New Indian Express report quoted CBI spokesperson R.C. Joshi saying, “It was alleged that various syndicates of individuals based in different parts of India and foreign countries were indulging in circulating, storing and viewing CSEM through various social media platforms/groups. It was also alleged that persons were disseminating CSEM by way of sharing links, videos, pictures, texts, posts and hosting of such content on social media groups/platforms and third-party storage/hosting platforms.”
The CBI spokesperson also added that the intelligence agency is coordinating with other sister agencies across the world for the tracking and investigation of individuals based in foreign lands.
CBI Team Attacked in Odisha, Local Men and Women Attack the CBI
Meanwhile in Dhenkanal, a CBI team was thrashed by a mob. The 5-member team was surrounded by angry locals who objected to the CBI raid. When the CBI took the help of the local police, the latter was attacked by lathi-carrying men and women.
Later during interrogation, the accused confessed distributing content sourced from internet and sharing it on WhatsApp group.