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Child Sexual Abuse Material: A Global Threat We Must Stop



Child Sexual Abuse Material: A Global Threat We Must Stop

Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), also known as child pornography, is any visual or written material that portrays minors engaged in explicit sexual activities. This illegal and harmful content has severe consequences for both the victims and society as a whole.

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Impact of CSAM

  • Traumatic Impact on Victims: The creation and dissemination of CSAM involve the sexual exploitation and abuse of children, causing severe emotional, psychological, and physical harm to the minors involved. Victims often suffer long-lasting trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety.
  • Perpetuation of Abuse: The sharing and circulation of CSAM perpetuate the abuse of the child victims. Once these images or videos are online, they can be replicated and redistributed countless times, causing ongoing harm to the victims as their abuse is relived repeatedly.
  • Normalization of Child Exploitation: The existence and availability of CSAM normalize child exploitation and contribute to the desensitization of society towards the sexual abuse of children. This normalization can create a culture that tolerates and even condones such heinous acts.
  • Criminal Activity: The production, distribution, and possession of CSAM are illegal activities in most jurisdictions. Those involved in these activities can face severe legal consequences, including imprisonment.
  • Online Safety Risks: CSAM is often distributed through online platforms, making the internet a dangerous place for children. Minors may be lured or coerced into sharing explicit images of themselves, which can then be used as CSAM. This puts children at risk of further exploitation and abuse.
  • Global Issue: CSAM is a global problem, with vast networks dedicated to its production and distribution. International cooperation is essential to combat this issue effectively.
  • Damage to Society: The existence of CSAM damages the social fabric by eroding trust and causing widespread outrage. It also diverts resources away from addressing other pressing issues.

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Combating CSAM in India

India has implemented various legal and regulatory measures to combat CSAM:

  • Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021: These rules require social media platforms to deploy technology to identify and remove CSAM proactively. Failure to do so can result in penalties.
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012: This law defines and criminalizes various sexual offences against children, including the creation, distribution, and possession of CSAM. It provides for stringent punishments for offenders and aims to expedite legal proceedings to protect child victims.
  • Section 67B of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000: This section prescribes punishment for publishing or transmitting materials containing sexually explicit acts involving minors. Offenders can face imprisonment and fines.
  • Section 293 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC): This section makes it illegal to sell, distribute, or publicly exhibit obscene materials involving minors. Violators can be penalized.
  • National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR): The NCPCR is responsible for monitoring and ensuring the enforcement of child protection laws, including those related to CSAM.
  • Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C): This organization works to combat cybercrimes, including CSAM-related offences. It collaborates with law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute such cases.


Unfortunately, the prevalence of CSAM cases in India is alarming. Here are some recent examples:

  1. Madhya Pradesh (2023): US-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) identified over 30,000 people in Madhya Pradesh who allegedly circulated suspected CSAM. Over 4,000 cases are identified as ‘actionable’ and arrests are likely.
  2. Maharashtra (2023): Maharashtra Police launched ‘Operation Blackface’ and arrested 140 individuals for CSAM-related offences since the beginning of 2023.
  3. Delhi (2022): Delhi Police arrested a man for sexually assaulting a minor and live-streaming it on social media. The incident highlights the evolving nature of CSAM and its presence on live platforms.
  4. Uttar Pradesh (2022): A businessman was arrested for possessing and circulating CSAM on his mobile phone. This case underscores the widespread nature of the issue across different demographics.
  5. Kerala (2021): Operation P-hunt by Kerala Police led to the arrest of 100 individuals for CSAM-related offences. This operation demonstrates the increasing focus of law enforcement agencies on tackling CSAM.

These examples are just a glimpse into the widespread and disturbing reality of CSAM in India.

Challenges Faced by Law Enforcement Agencies

Despite the efforts of law enforcement agencies, they face several challenges in handling CSAM cases:

  1. Technological Advancements: Offenders are constantly adopting new technologies to evade detection, such as encrypted platforms and dark web networks.
  2. Resource Constraints: Law enforcement agencies are often understaffed and lack the specialized resources needed to investigate and prosecute CSAM cases effectively.
  3. Lack of Public Awareness: Many people are unaware of the severity of CSAM and hesitate to report suspected cases.
  4. Legal Loopholes: Existing laws may not adequately address the evolving nature of CSAM, particularly with regard to online platforms and emerging technologies.
  5. Cross-Border Collaboration: CSAM networks often operate across international borders, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to coordinate and prosecute offenders effectively.
  6. Balancing Privacy Concerns: Striking a balance between protecting children and safeguarding individual privacy remains a complex challenge in investigating and prosecuting CSAM cases.

Addressing these challenges requires a multi-pronged approach involving:

  • Increased funding and resources for law enforcement agencies.
  • Development and implementation of advanced forensic tools and technologies.
  • Enhanced public awareness and education campaigns.
  • Strengthening international cooperation and collaboration.
  • Regular review and revision of legal frameworks to keep pace with technological advancements.
  • Prioritization of victim support and rehabilitation services.

By addressing these challenges and implementing effective strategies, India can make significant progress in combating CSAM and safeguarding children from this heinous crime.

Call to Action

CSAM is a serious issue that requires a multi-pronged approach to address. It is crucial to raise awareness, educate the public, and encourage reporting of suspected cases. Additionally, technological advancements must be harnessed to combat the proliferation of CSAM online. Finally, international cooperation is essential to dismantle the global networks that fuel this heinous crime.


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