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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Online child sex abuse: CBI raids 77 places in 14 states; detains 10

The searches are being conducted at Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, UP, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha, Tamilnadu, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: November 17, 2021 3:26:50 am
Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal bar cbi central bureau of investigationThe Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Office in New Delhi (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

IN A major crackdown on online child sex abuse, the CBI on Tuesday conducted searches at 77 locations across 14 states and detained 10 people. According to the CBI, the racket involved 5,000 offenders from around 100 countries spread across Asia, Africa, Americas and Europe.

The agency said it registered 23 FIRs on November 14 against 83 accused “on the allegations related to online child sexual abuse & exploitation”.

The searches were carried out at locations in Andhra Pradesh , Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

“The searches are still going on. Till now 10 people involved in the racket have been detained and the numbers may go up,” a CBI officer said.

The CBI claimed that a number of electronic gadgets, cellphones and laptops have so far been recovered during the searches.

“It is revealed that some individuals were involved in trading of Child Sexual Exploitation Material (CSEM),” the CBI said in a statement.

“As per initial information collected, there are more than 50 groups having more than 5,000 offenders sharing child sexual abuse material. Many of these groups also have involvement of foreign nationals,” it said. “It is initially learnt that there may be involvement of nationals of around 100 countries spread across various continents. The CBI is coordinating with sister agencies through formal and informal channels. Searches and development of further leads is underway.”

According to the CBI, it registered the FIRs following allegations 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 and 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 statement said.

Recognising the importance of combating online child sex abuse, the CBI recently set up a Special Unit called Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention/ Investigation (OCSAE), which collects intelligence on child sex abuse and cracks down on international rackets, CBI sources said.

“Every year, a lot of children face abuse which becomes more horrific when online platforms are used. It is a challenge for all stakeholders including law enforcement agencies. The cooperation amongst law enforcement agencies is paramount for tackling this menace. The CBI as a National Central Bureau (Interpol-India) is uniquely placed to coordinate such matters having national and international ramifications,” the CBI statement said.

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