Kerala Police launch statewide anti-child pornography campaign

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At least 10 people arrested in clandestine cyber-surveillance operation, while 186 devices were confiscated

Clandestine cyber surveillance operation by Kerala Police (against Child Sexual Exploitation) team resulted in the arrest of at least 10 people accused of trading, peddling, stockpiling and distributing material sexual exploitation of children.

The team, led by Additional Director General of Police Manoj Abraham, dismantled several peer-to-peer child pornography sharing groups. Investigators used deception, fake personas and social engineering techniques to infiltrate the highly secretive cliques.

The Kerala Police Cyberdome aided the operation, named P-Hunt. He reportedly used state-of-the-art cyber-surveillance software provided by Interpol to track online traffic in child pornography.

Investigators and IT resource people working pro bono for the police prepared for weeks at the Cyberdome to infiltrate child pornography sharing networks. Using fictitious cyber identities, investigators infiltrated secret groups by showing a sexual interest in children.

Software developed by Interpol is said to have helped police track the uploading of lascivious images of children digitally watermarked to the IP addresses of individual offenders.

Police also used software tools to impose digital signatures on the “Trojan horse” child pornography content to track their circulation on the internet and on allied encrypted mobile phone communication platforms.

Police seized 186 devices loaded with child sexual exploitation material ranging from rape, incest, domestic violence to candid photographs of local children at swimming pools, water theme parks, shopping malls , playgrounds, shopping malls, beaches and resort hotels.

Investigators said unknown child predators, equipped with mobile phones, appeared to have generated numerous images and traded them online. They also found a large cache of videos and photos of minors between the ages of five and sixteen in various states of undress.

Some suspects rarely stored the images and videos and deleted them immediately after viewing the content. Few would regularly format their phones to erase incriminating evidence.

An investigator said live sex sessions involving children, mostly of Southeast Asian and East European descent, had become fashionable among a few suspects.

Distributing, viewing, storing child pornography carries a penalty of up to five years imprisonment and a fine of ₹10 lakh.

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