Indian internet users have taken the message about reporting disturbing imagery of child pornography to heart, after figures from the IWF India Reporting Portal, reveal the 1000th report has just been made.
The innovative online Reporting Portal was launched in India back in September 2016. Aarambh India and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) partnered to set-up the first Reporting Portal of its kind in India. The service is anonymous and allows users to direct highly trained IWF analysts to potentially illegal content of children, so that this material can be fully assessed and removed from the internet.
Both the IWF and Aarambh India were keen to establish the Reporting Portal in a bid to tackle the issue of online child pornography in India. Back in 2007, a Government of India report on child sexual abuse found that 4.46% of 12,000 children surveyed said they had been indecently photographed. Between 2013 and 2014, there was a 100% increase in the number of cases filed under ‘publication and transmission of obscene’ material, including child pornography images and videos.
Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF CEO, said: “I’m incredibly proud that the India Reporting Portal has been so successfully established and that Indian web users have taken the message about reporting these horrific images and videos to heart. It’s a tough job to start from scratch and raise awareness, so people know where to report this imagery safely and anonymously, if they stumble across it. But the 1000th report shows that this important message is getting through.
“Aarambh have been a great partner to work with. We share a commitment to ensure that our service makes a real difference for people in India. Just one report to the Portal can be all it takes to identify and rescue a child from sexual abuse. So, this is an important milestone in our battle to help protect children worldwide.”
Uma Subramanian, Founder and Co-Director of Aarambh India, said: “We approached IWF when we realised there was a real need on ground for an online mechanism, where anyone could report sexually explicit images and videos of children on the internet. The continuing relevance on the India Portal is a sign that it was a necessary intervention. The Portal was central to kick-starting and taking forward the discussion around tackling child pornography in India. We are happy that our partnership with IWF has made such a difference.”
The 1000 Indian Portal reports could have a huge impact on number of pornographic child sexual abuse images and videos on the internet. A single report, or reported URL, could contain thousands of these horrific images. Each image depicts the suffering of a real child. Each time this imagery is uploaded, shared or viewed, that child victim is re-victimised. A report can be made completely anonymously, and it only takes a few seconds. It is then assessed by an expert analyst from the IWF Hotline team, based in the UK. If the image or video is illegal, the analyst will use a global network of partners to get that content taken down.