About Sexual Abuse while live streaming
Broadcasting of the live recording of a sexual exploitation of an individual is called sexual abuse while live streaming. Mostly it is children (minors below 18 years) and adolescent girls who are targeted in this online crime.
Children and adolescents who are naive and vulnerable in the digital world are targeted by online predators, by befriending them on online platforms like - social media network sites, chat rooms, online gaming sites etc., for sexual exploitation and abuse.
Why should we be concerned?
The children or adolescents who may fall prey to this offence experience extremely agonizing situation, and the whole family is gravely traumatized by it.
Your children can fall prey to such online predators, which can be traumatic and excruciating tale for both parents and child.
According to the report of the Maharashtra crime officials, after the initiation of ‘operation blackface’ in mid January 2020, to flush out sexual predators of children, pedophiles, child rapists and child pornography addicts, they have recorded 133 cases of child sexual exploitation and 46 arrests since lockdown. A disturbing trend revealed a steep increase in demand for ‘child porn’ along with increase in porn hub traffic by 95% between March 24-26, 2020. The problem is not restricted to Maharashtra but pan-India.
The offenders gain access through intermediaries or facilitators, who sometimes can be the relatives or neighbors of the child. These intermediaries convince or coerce the child to enact sexually explicit acts in front of webcam. later an appointment and the price is fixed through email/ chat/ phone for the online abuse to take place. Online platforms like Skype, Webcam supported chat sites are used to live stream the abuse online, where the offenders view the abuse real time and direct it through chat or voice function. This is a heinous punishable crime.
Few pointers / warning signs
- Isolating self and being very reactive & emotional
- Substance abuse
- Feeling desperate and frustrated
- Having suicidal thoughts and self harming behavior.
- Showing signs of fear, nervousness, anxiety, depression
How can we safeguard ourselves against such offence?
Sexual abuse while live streaming can leave a child or adolescent traumatized and scarred for life, it is necessary that parents understand the impact and take necessary measures to protect children from it.
Ensure that you keep track and monitor your child’s online activities
- Make the child digitally aware and alert him about the online threats.
- Teach the child to say “NO” to do anything that they feel uncomfortable
- Inform the child intimate you immediately if he feels uncomfortable about something.
- Emphasize the importance of protecting personal information online.
- Enable the security/ privacy features online and enable parental controls online.
- Have open talks or discussions and encourage the child to share all his online experiences.
- Have digital usage agreements on what to can be viewed online and what needs to be avoided.
- If you observe any objectionable or abusive content on social media, report on the social media help centre about it.
What is the action that can be taken against sexual abuse while live streaming?
a) Register a complaint at your nearest cyber crime police station
b) You also have the option to register an online complaint on cybercrime.gov.in anonymously also.
c) Report about it to the social media account help centre
Know about what law says about such offences?
As per Law : Section 11, 12 of POCSO ACT ; section 67A of ITA Act ; Section 503 & 507 of IPC( need to elaborate)
As children may face sexual harassment during live streaming in the online classes more, Ss. 11 & 12 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 , read with S.67B of the Information technology Act may be applicable here. Section 11 of the POCSO Act defines the instances where the intent of act can be described to as sexual harassment and Section 12 prescribes punishment for the same. S. 11 of the POCSO Act includes grooming of children for sexual exploitation, sexual harassment by sending sexually colored remarks, stalking etc. S.67B of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (amended in 2008) addresses creation, production, conveying etc of child porn contents and prescribes punishment which may go upto 10 years of imprisonment.
In case the victims are adult women,
Sec.67A of the Information Technology Act may be applicable which addresses publishing electronic material containing sexually explicit act. The punishment in such cases can go up to 5 years to 7 years jail term to fine.
Indian Penal Code (IPC):
Section 507 IPC may be applied if there is a criminal intimidation by anonymous person and the section prescribes punishment for imprisonment up to 2 years and fine. S.509 IPC must also be applied in case the harasser uses words etc to harass the women.