Indian internet users have taken the message about reporting disturbing imagery of child sexual abuse to heart, after figures from the IWF India Reporting Portal reveal the 1000th report has just been made.
India’s online IWF Portal passes milestone of 1000 reports
The innovative online Reporting Portal was launched in India back in September 2016. Aarambh India and the Cambridge -based 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.
The Reporting Portal is available in both English and Hindi, and can be accessed here: http://aarambhindia.org/report
Both the IWF and Aarambh India were keen to establish the Reporting Portal in a bid to tackle the issue of child sexual abuse imagery 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 sexual abuse images and videos.(1)
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 our 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 realized 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 online child sexual abuse imagery in India. We are happy that our partnership with IWF has made such a difference."
A report can be made completely anonymously, and it only takes a few seconds.
The report 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.
The 1000 Indian Portal reports could have a huge impact on the number of 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.
(1) National Crime Records Bureau, India
Aarambh India is an initiative of the Mumbai based NGO Prerana and Hong Kong based ADM Capital Foundation that works to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation of children. In 2014 the partners launched www.aarambhindia.org India’s 1st Online resource portal for citizens on child sexual abuse. Through resources on aarambhindia.org, direct interventions with victims, and government advocacy, Aarambh India works with partners to safeguard children from sexual abuse and exploitation.
IWF are one of the world’s most successful hotline sat removing online child sexual abuse imagery. From IWF’s most recent figures, action was taken against 78,589 reports of online child sexual abuse imagery in 2017. The IWF currently operates 22 Reporting Portals across the globe.
Case study: How the Indian IWF Reporting Portal is helping
In 2017, an anonymous report was made through the Indian Portal to IWF. The report showed imagery hosted in a cyberlocker. The material was extremely disturbing, showing baby girls and boys from a range of ethnicities. Some of the most severe abuse we see was being inflected, including rape and sexual torture. Although an internet user in India made the report, the webpage was hosted in Russia and contained over 200 videos. The time between the report being sent from India, to the time we notified the Russian Hotline was 1 hour 7 minutes. Our Russian counterparts acted swiftly and the disturbing imagery was removed in less than 24 hours.
For more information please visit www.iwf.org.uk. The IWF is part of the UK Safer Internet Centre, working with Childnet International and the South West Grid for Learning to promote the safe and responsible use of technology.
IWF is an international charity working to make the internet a safer place by minimising the availability of online child sexual abuse videos and images.