Global child sex network spanning 100 countries and 5,000 people from US to India dismantled
NEW DELHI, INDIA: The Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested seven people on Wednesday, November 24, as part of a nationwide crackdown on an alleged international network for the sexual exploitation of children online.
The CBI revealed how the raids were carried out following the discovery of an online child sexual abuse operation involving more than 50 unions and 5,000 individuals in 100 countries. Agency sources told the online newspaper The Print that the nexus had engaged in the online distribution of child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) for monetary gain.
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Sources said the illicit operation was discovered by the CBI following “intensive information gathering and monitoring in the most remote areas of the country over a period of three months”, after which the agency raided several locations on November 14, including the Indian states of Andhra. Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.
In a statement, the CBI revealed the seizure of numerous laptops, cellphones and other electronic gadgets during the raids, registering 23 cases against 83 people. Nine people have been arrested so far, and more arrests are imminent according to a CBI source. The first inputs were obtained by the CBI’s Child Abuse and Sexual Exploitation Online Prevention / Investigation Unit (OCSAE), which was established in 2019 to track and monitor the publication, dissemination and CSEM downloads from the Internet, according to The imprint.
Sources familiar with the investigation told the newspaper authorities were following a trail of money from electronic wallets and bank accounts to locate the accused. Although the actual amount involved in the nationwide racketeering has not yet been disclosed, sources have confirmed that foreign funds have also been followed in the operation. “The defendants disseminated child abuse content online via links, videos, images, texts, posts and hosted such things on social media platforms,” they said.
FIR filed against group of individuals in Jhansi said “individuals based in different parts of India and foreign countries” “circulated, stored and viewed child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) [using] social media groups / platforms and third-party storage / hosting platforms, ”according to The Print, which accessed the documents.
Sources further revealed that the alleged child sexual abuse network crossed international borders and involved people from Pakistan, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ghana, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Yemen, Malaysia and Indonesia, among other countries. . “It’s part of a larger connection,” an insider told the newspaper. “Thirty-six of the identified telephone numbers were detected in Pakistan, 35 in Canada and the United Kingdom, 31 in Bangladesh, 30 in Sri Lanka, 28 in Nigeria, 27 in Azerbaijan, 24 in Yemen and 22 in Malaysia”, the statement said. source added. The CBI would now work with foreign law enforcement agencies and Interpol to get to the root of the international network. Meanwhile, the agency also enlisted the help of social media websites and hosting platforms to facilitate the investigation.