The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) bust an international racket in which people from over 100 countries were allegedly involved in online child sexual abuse, an official said.

The CBI also found that over 50 groups with 5,000 offenders from over 100 countries, including Pakistan, Canada, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, USA, Azerbaijan, UK, Belgium and Yemen were involved in child sexual abuse through online platforms.

“It has been alleged that various syndicates of individuals based in different parts of India and foreign countries were indulged in circulation, storage and viewing child sexual exploitation material [CSEM] through various social media platforms and groups,” said a CBI officer.

“It was also alleged that persons were disseminating CSEM by sharing links, videos, pictures, texts, posts and hosting of such content on social media groups or platforms and third-party storage or hosting platforms,” the officer said.

Over 80 teams of the CBI conducted searches at 77 locations across 14 states — Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Gujrat, Bihar, Haryana, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh.

During these searches, various electronic gadgets, mobiles and laptops were recovered by the CBI. The CBI also found that some individuals were involved in the trading of CSEM material.

Several individuals were detained by the CBI and a few more are expected to be detained or arrested once searches are over.

“As per the initial information, there are more than 50 groups having more than 5,000 offenders sharing child sexual abuse material. Many of these groups also have the involvement of foreign nationals. It was initially learnt that there may be involvement of nationals of around 100 countries spread across various continents. The CBI is coordinating with sister agencies through formal and informal channels. Searches and development of further leads is underway,” said the CBI officer.

A Special Unit “Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention/ Investigation (OCSAE)” was created in the CBI for investigation of matters pertaining to online child sexual abuse and exploitation


India today

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