Rights activist Mohamed Mustafa Saidalavi talks about the numerous child sex abuse videos that are available
Illustration by Amit Bandre; Mohamed Mustafa Saidalavi
By Shevlin Sebastian
At the seminar titled ‘Child Pornography and its Perils’, conducted by the NGO, ‘Raising Our Voices’ at Kochi, recently, child rights activist Mohamed Mustafa Saidalavi tells the audience, “Close your eyes and count to 13.” Dutifully, the audience does so. Then Mohamed says, “Now open your eyes and you should know that every 13 seconds an Indian child sex abuse video is being reported globally online. In 2017 there were 2.4 million videos in India.”
Mohamed tells an incident which was told to him by an international expert. A man in a Middle East country cut his wife’s womb, took out the foetus and tried to make love to it. He took a video and sold it on the internet.
“Suppose you are a rich but sick paedophile who wants to see such things,” says Mohamed. “There are people who will supply it. It can be put it on a flash drive and sent. Or it can be put it in a particular drive from where it can be accessed online.”
Much of these activities take place in the Dark Net through an encrypted part of the Internet called the Tor Network. This is not readily accessible. “The legitimate web which we are using is a tip of the iceberg called surface web. Darknet and other encrypted web are the remaining areas,” says Mohamed.
Mohamed got interested in the subject when he came across a case among his relatives. There was a 12-year-old boy who got addicted to seeing porn. Then after a while, there arose a desire in him to see children of his age doing sex.
“He got connected with a group in New Zealand on the Dark Net,” says Mohamed. “To enter it, you have to prove you are a paedophile by producing one video. Once you post it, then they will know that you are not the police and will give you the code to enter and access all their materials. So, he gave sweets to his 12-year-old cousin, and tried to do sex with her. But his parents caught him before it went further.”
According to Mohamed’s research, the vast majority of child porn videos feature boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 13. “The buyers of child pornography are usually well-off people,” says Mohamed. “But women are also watching and producing films, because of poverty.”
And women have advantages. “They can easily access the child,” says Mohamed. “She makes the child do something to her. Or she does something to the child. It is put up in the WebCam Child Sex Tourism network.”
He recounts the well-known incident of a woman who took her daughter to a cinema hall along with her boyfriend who was a rich businessman in Kerala. “The man molested both of them but he was caught by the night vision cameras,” says Mohamed. “She did it for the money.”
Mohamed met the principal of a school in Thrissur. “He told me that he came across seven under-age children who were abused,” says Mohamed. “Out of them four were raped by the father. But three of them thought it was fun and there was nothing wrong with what their father did.”
As to ways to stop it, Mohamed says, “To be honest, it is like trying to stop an ocean. But now artificial intelligence is being used to travel through the Dark Net and catch these people. Kerala Police is one of the best in India. They are keeping on catching people who watch and make child porn. So I am happy about that.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi)