The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognisance of a media report that cited a 250-300% increase in the circulation of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) on social media in India. NHRC said the content is of foreign origin, and Indian investigation agencies have not come across any Indian-made CSAM so far.
The Commission observed that CSAM is a “violation of human rights relating to the life, liberty, and dignity of citizens” and stressed the protection of young children “from the danger of their sexual abuse on social media”.
It maintained that it had been concerned with the ill-effects of online CSAM on human rights as it may cause irreparable psychological damage to children, impacting their growth and development.
Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Commissioner of Police, Delhi; the Director-Generals of the Police of all the States/UTs; the Director, the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB); and the Secretary, the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), calling for a detailed report in the matter within six weeks on the steps taken to prevent such menace on social media.
The NHRC statement said, quoting the media report, that “about 4,50,207 cases related to spread of child sexual abuse material have been reported in the year 2023, so far. Out of these, Delhi Police has taken action in 3,039 cases while 4,47,168 cases are currently being studied”.
“In some cases, even photographs taken lovingly, of young children by respective fathers, brothers and sisters in India have been classified as child sexual abuse by an American NGO. There were 2,04,056 cases reported in the year 2022, 1,63,633 in the year 2021, and 17,390 in 2020,” the statement said.