India’s first ever hotline to limit sexual abuse of children through the internet is set to launch early next week. This hotline also removes child abusive, pornographic content on the internet. Aaarambh, a network of individuals and organizations who work on child protection, took the initiative and collaborated with a UK-based Internet Watch Foundation.
IWF, an industry watch dog, is the most successful hotline in the world to remove child pornography.The hotline will be hosted on aarambhindia.org in India and enables users to report abuse about child sexual videos in an anonymous and safe environment.
Initially, the hotline will be in Hindi and English, and will be available in 22 regional languages in future.The purpose of hotline serves three – to trace the perpetrator and report him to the law enforcement agencies of his country, blocks and eventually removes offensive content, to reach out to the child victim and rehabilitate him/her as and when required.
A user can report the URL to the hotline once if he or she comes across a video or an image showing sexual abuse of children on the internet. A complaint filed on the Hotline remains secret and is accessed by a team of IWF professionals based in the UK.
This team selects the offensive URL and adds it to block-list thus its trouble making in accessing the content further until it has been removed. Once after the content is deleted, a unique identification number is assigned to ensure that the content cannot be uploaded in the future.
“According to NCRB data, sexual offenses online are second only to illegal gain and fraud in cyber crimes. Last year, around 96 cases were reported under sections concerning pornography and children. The year before, the number was just 40. This shows a 140 percent increase.
This despite the fact that internet penetration is only 20 percent and the quality of the internet connection isn’t optimum either. As internet connectivity improves, the issue is bound to see a staggering rise if preventive measures are not put in place,” says Siddharth Pillai, communications manager and co-director of Aarambh Initiative.
This tool also helps in filling the gap while police teams often face while dealing with cyber crimes. The nature of offenses globally deals where a child from one country could be a victim, where perpetrator would be from another country.
As per law, using a child for sexual gratification in any form of social media can be sent to jail at least for more than 5 years. If in case the videos or images contain sexual assault, there are chances even for a life incarceration.