Click to Buy Sex

Click to Buy Sex

In 2017, a Facebook friend lured a 13 year old girl to a motel, forced her to stay with him and raped her repeatedly for two days. It started off as a normal friendship over FB, but culminated in betrayal and sexual abuse. The ‘’Facebook friend’’ was a 21 year old male who sweet-talked a 13-year old minor girl from Tirupur into accompanying him to Chennai. In a lodge in Pondicherry, he raped her over and over again until his sexual hunger was satiated. Then, the offender gave her some cash to return home and vanished from the scene. But her ordeal didn’t end there. The lodge owner on finding the victim unaided and powerless duped her through false promises of assistance and raped her. Thereafter, the girl managed to escape from the godforsaken place and return to her hometown.

Gruesome as it sounds, this is the harsh reality of young victims in our country. No matter how much the general public would like to believe that it’s not as rampant and heinous, most of these incidents when looked into closer tell a horrifying tale.

In 2017, a non-resident Indian banker flew over 100 miles to meet a 14-year old girl in a hotel room; he had been ‘’grooming’’ her over Whatsapp chats in order to exploit her sexually.

These are just two of the several hundred cases of child sexual abuse that are reported with Indian police on a regular basis.

Strategies to Ensnare Youngsters

The rapid advancement of internet and other technologies fuel widespread sale and sexual exploitation of children. In today’s world, it takes only a click of a button to have children ‘’delivered’’ to anywhere offenders want. Social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp give perpetrators unprecedented access to victims. Online ‘’groomers’’ frequent social networks used by young people and use decoys like fake identities and common interests to win their trust and manipulate them, before selling them into flesh trade. These digital spaces, along with modern technology, like cloud computing and encryption, provide traffickers thicker shrouds of anonymity and greatly reduce chances of arrest. Bitcoin, Paytm and other types of digital payment modes are very popular among human traffickers because of their untraceable nature. It aids traffickers to conceal their illegal actions from the eyes of the law.

The clandestine nature of online child abuse is enabling abusers to target children on a mass scale. Some of the ugliest manifestations of that are sex tourism, child pornography and cybersex offences. As mentioned in a study sponsored by National Human Rights Commission called ‘’Trafficking of Women and Children in India’’, ‘’In India, the abuse of both male and female children by tourists has acquired serious dimensions.’’ The beaches of Goa and Kerala have become the hotspot for child prostitutes. With the availability of chat rooms, web cams and ‘darknet’, child molesters only need a few strokes of a keyboard to lay their hands on infant pornography. Stats from sites show that 40% of pornographic content is related to children and teenagers and shockingly, India is leading the consumption and contribution of such abusive content. Child porn encourages sexual interest in children and influences the deviant parts of human mind. An increasing number of pimps are using social media platforms, underground websites, hidden ads in mainstream websites and mobile apps to buy and sell minors with impunity.

Technology has restructured the contours of sexual victimization; over 80% of child trafficking is now occurring online. In order to safeguard children from the newest and most brutal form of sexual slavery, online sex abuse, government, regulatory bodies and tech companies need to work with greater cooperation and urgency.

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