How Kerala Police’ CCSE under Cyberdome is fighting crimes against children
Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 17: Kerala Police CCSE (Countering Child Sexual Exploitation) Team, functioning under Cyberdome, understanding the gravity of the problem with relation to increasing online crimes against children, has for the last four years, embarked on a sustained digital analysis of the virtual trends and these problems, particularly during this Pandemic period and after identifying the culprits a special operation titled P-hunt was launched, which has been highly successful and over the last couple of years and the abstract of the raids are as follows.
The current basic trends that can be derived in the behaviour of internet users, in Kerala, is that there has been a lot of deterrent effect due to the hyper active work of the CCSE cell and due to the arrests and registration of cases. But in many cases these crimes are related to mental addictions that require treatment, and in the absence of the same, there are trends of repetition of offences or the accused coming back to the crime, more prepared, with better tools of anonymity etc. So after every two months we again see the trend going up and a spike in such cases against children, Manoj Abraham IPS Additional Director General of Police & Nodal Officer, Cyberdome said.
A familiar trend is found in porn groups operating over whatsapp and Telegram and number of such groups have increased drastically during this period. Due to the police action thru P hunt drives, the accused now watch the video and delete it using specialized software to evade detection. They also have started formatting their phone every three days. Use of malwares to activate the webcams of the victim and to steal information of children has also been reported in certain cases. In a few cases we have seen online live sex sessions involving children that are available on payment over restricted links
As a part of the tenth Special drive of CCSE Cell titled P-Hunt 2022.1, around 410 such locations were identified throughout the State and a covert operation named P-HUNT_ 21.2, was planned to bring the culprits to book. The information was then collated and passed on to 280 teams under the District Police Chiefs, having members of cyber cells, technical experts and women component.
Under the operational supervision of the District SPs, simultaneous raids were conducted throughout the State, on Sunday the 16thof Jan 2022, from early morning onwards.
The raids were highly successful and as a part of the operation, the teams could seize 186 devices in 161 cases registered- which includeMobile phones, Modems, Hard Disks, Memory Cards, Laptops, Computers etc. with graphic and illegal videos and pictures of children. The distressing part of the same is that many of the videos/pictures appear to be of local children, ranging in age group of 5 years to 16 years.
Based on the recovery of the devices with the CSAM material, 10 arrests were made and this includes youth working in good professional jobs and most of them are IT savvy, which is the reason why they were using all kinds of encrypted handles to upload and download the material. Some are suspected to be involved in the trafficking of children also as there are many chats to this effect in their devices.
The details of rest of the people involved in circulating these images and videos are being further collected. Strong action will be taken against all the individuals involved in this racket, continuing our policy of zero tolerance in these matters. The technical assistance for the collection of information was led by Shri Shyam Kumar A, Operations Officer, Cyberdome and he was assisted by Renjith RU, Anoop GS, Vaisakh SS, Arunraj R and Akshay Santhoshall members of the CCSE Cyberdome Squad. The India Child Protection Fund (ICPF) also provided the technical expertise and resources, required to detect these online crimes and worked with the Team with a common objective of Protecting children from abuse.
It should be noted that as per the current law, viewing, distributing or storing of any child pornographic content is a criminal offense can result in, up to 5 years imprisonment and up to Rs 10 lakh fine. Kerala Police seeks the support of the community, in this project and if any member of the public comes across any such channels or groups that spread child sex-related content, we urge you to please inform Hi Tech Crime Enquiry Cell, Cyberdome or Cyber cells at the earliest, considering "Child security as the responsibility of every member of the society".