The India Child Protection Fund (ICPF) and the Department of Women and Child Development (WCD), Madhya Pradesh, convened a state consultation in Bhopal on Friday to aggressively battle online child sexual abuse. Vishal Nadkarni, Joint Director, WCD; R.K. Shukla, former DGP, Madhya Pradesh; O.P. Singh, former DGP, Uttar Pradesh, and CEO, ICPF; and Manisha Sentiya, Additional Director, Education Department, were the top officials consulted. The consultation examined Madhya Pradesh’s multipronged approach to CSAM.
Vishal Nadkarni, Joint Director, WCD, said that the Department of Women and Child Development will support ICPF in all future workshops and endeavours in the state to raise grassroots awareness about CSAM.
“We have strict laws, agencies, and experts to help children with such issues, but families are always the first key protectors. So, it’s necessary to raise awareness among families at the grassroots level so they can spot internet abuse in their children’, said Vishal Nadkarni, Joint Director, WCD.
In April 2020, the ICPF said that child pornography was demanded by 5 million people in 100 cities on the public web.
Chief guest R.K. Shukla, former Madhya Pradesh DGP, said, “It is high time we make the issue of online child sexual abuse our priority. Online child sexual assault has skyrocketed since villages got the internet. ICPF is doing well to bring this difficult subject to the states. But now we need society’s help to fight this battle.”
“Online Child Sexual abuse is growing exponentially and is an organised crime; it should be seen in the same line as terrorism,” said ICPF CEO and former UP DGP O.P. Singh, emphasising the need for such collaborations in the country.
Predators around the world exploit our children for money. Thus, quality and timely investigation and prosecution are crucial.”
Decoding CSAM cases from CD source data was a key challenge during the consultation.
“Normally, e-CD has 600–800 cases of CSAM; as we don’t have any technical mechanism to extract data from the CD, it has to be done manually, which delays the investigation and affects the mental health of the person working on it.
Vineeth Kapoor said that specialised software is needed to speed up case identification and investigation. Bhopal DCP.
“There has been increased usage of digital applications in recent years,” stated Manisha Sentiya, Additional Director, Education Department. Cyber hygiene, safety, and security education are needed for 20 lakh at-risk children. The department will put it in the school curriculum.”
The ICPF has focused on online child protection and child sexual abuse. ICPF partners with law enforcement agencies nationwide to raise awareness among children, parents, and teachers about online child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Other dignitaries from the ICPF, government, and police departments were Sampurna Behura, Executive Director, ICPF; Yagya Meda, Assistant Director, WCD; Vineeth Kapoor, DCP, Bhopal; Vaibhav Srivastav, police department; and S.K. Somavanshi, police department.