For the first time, the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) will hold an international conference on online sexual abuse of children. The two-day long conference starting from Friday will be attended by representatives of Facebook, Deloitte, Price Water House Coopers as well as senior police officials from six countries. WBCPCR is organising the conference in collaboration with the International Justice Mission (IJM).
“The objective of the conference is to raise awareness not only among parents but also exchange of ideas among law enforcement officials of different countries so that the global menace of online sexual abuse of children can be properly dealt with,” Ananya Chakraborti, Chairperson of WBCPCR said on Wednesday. She also said such a conference-titled Sexual Exploitation of Children in Digital Era-is the first of its kind in the country.
Apart from senior police officials of six countries, government representatives, prosecutors and judges fro 15 countries such as USA, Bangladesh, Uganda, Germany, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Canada and India will take part in the conference.
“ Officials from agencies such IB and FBI will attend the conference,” said Chakraborti. She also said that chairpersons of Child Rights Commissions of eight other states have already confirmed their attendance at the conference.
Senior state police officials who addressed the media along with Chakraborti said that the challenge in cases of online sexual abuse of children is the identification of culprits since many of them use the dark web and servers based in other countries.
“In such cases identification of the accused is rather low due to the use the dark web and servers located in other countries. So it is very challenging to trace their location,” said Ajey Mukund Ranade, IG of CID, West Bengal said.
However, he was unable to provide any statistics regarding cases of online sexual abuse of children in West Bengal.
Police officials also emphasized on increasing awareness among parents regarding the issue and said that in such cases deterrence against perpetrators can only be created if there is a “high level of awareness” among parents. They also said that since in most such cases the victim and the accused belong to different countries legal hurdles often delay prosecution.