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Lost Innocence – Child Pornography and Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse

Child Pornography refers to sexual exploitation of a minor that is preserved in recorded form like images, videos, or any other computer-generated form. They are a form of sexual abuse that is against the law in most countries. All obscene images of children wearing less or no clothing or having sex are included under this heading. Pornography is obtained through molestation by making a child touch the genital area or vice versa. 

It can also be drawn or created through a computer and that is known as simulated child pornography.  The question of morality arises on the ground if the pornographic images decrease the happiness and measure of the sustainability of those who are affected. According to Devlin, the law should be used as a tool to regulate private immoral behavior if the behavior in question poses a threat to the moral fiber of society. If that is not regulated, a moral panic arises surrounded by all of the public opinions and socio-legal perspectives related to the issue.

The Disastrous Impact

In this particular case, this becomes long term life destruction for children as the wounds remain unhealed if once they are used as a sexually explicit object and it would curb the protective status of the child. Adults who are Paedophile, Hebephile, or Ephebophile, who get aroused due to minor children, promote the use of child porn. According to some experts, pornography acts in the same manner as drugs or alcohol resulting in addiction. Can children be counted as an object of sexual pleasure? Should society be driven towards lust in this manner? Their pain is more important than the people’s pleasure and considering that moral grounds always promote humanity, thus, we cannot allow child pornography in a social system. Judiciary, public opinion, police, media, etc. play their own roles to drive the issue in a bad light and that helps in considering it as ‘immoral’.

Ultimately, it becomes a medium of suffering for children as those haunting visions keep coming back to life in their brains for the rest of their lives, and the same is enhanced by the preserved form of those molestations. They suffer from psychiatric illness, marital problems, and disability for the rest of their lives.

Child Pornography promoting Sexual Abuse

If a child lacks knowledge and believes the child abuser to take part in such activities thinking that everybody does the same, it gives a sense of validation to the behavior of the child abuser. A BBC report which focussed on the police investigation of a pornographic ring ‘wonderland club’ revealed that above 75,000 indecent materials were distributed by the members of the club across the world.

Child Pornography
Source – Social Media

So, the fact that seduction feelings towards a child are shared by many of the human minds gives a behavioral validation of expression inclining it to even make a club as stated above. If we dive deeper into the relationship between pornographic materials and child sexual abuse, certain research findings agree that indecent materials promote abuse of children, for instance, the findings from Marshall’s research study involving fifty-one child sex abusers revealed that 67 percent of the participants made use of ‘hardcore sexual stimuli’.

The production of child pornography itself is a form of child abuse. In a crown case, Judge Michael Heath commented, “By downloading such material from the internet, you were encouraging the abuse of very young children. That is by far the most serious aspect of the case.” Thus, bringing down the rate of child pornographic materials would result in fewer cases of child abuse.

Global Scenario

However, this issue is in its worst-case scenario in most of the countries. The current laws are inadequate with no proper implementation as reported by Baron Daniel Cordon International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC). Only 5 out of the total countries were able to make a significant impact on the crime. The way this matter has been taken lightly even by the developed countries shows them in bad light making the world an unsafe place to live in.

According to a study by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Child Victim Identification Program, there has been a 774% increase in the number of child pornography images and videos since 2011. There is a disturbing correlation between pornography and the sexual abuse of children. The making of such images has a child molested and provides a way towards more people incited to commit this crime. Studies and case reports of the US Mayo Clinic indicate that 30% to 80% of individuals who viewed child pornography and 76% of individuals who were arrested for Internet child pornography had molested a child; however, they state that it is difficult to know how many people progress from computerized child pornography to physical acts against children and how many would have progressed to physical acts without the computer being involved.

So, there is an overall need to press rules and regulations for child pornographic materials and sexual abuse.

Indian Legal Framework

No matter how much India is struggling to stop abuse and punish sex offenders of every category, it still has provisions to criminalize acts that affect children’s lives. Under Section 293 of the Indian Penal Code, whoever engages in the sale, hire, distributing, exhibiting, or circulating to any person of any obscene material that is described under section 292 of IPC can be punished. It describes obscene material as lascivious or something which tends to deprave or the corrupt person who is likely to read, see or hear the matter contained.

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences

Further, India has the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, 2012 to provide punishments regarding child pornography. Section 14 under this Act criminalizes the use of children for pornographic purposes in any form of media, including the portrayal of a child’s sexual organs or the participation of a child in real or simulated sexual activities. The storage of child pornographic material for commercial purposes is a crime in India. However, it is to be noted that adult pornography is not criminalized. As pornographic material also comes into the ambit of cyber laws, Section 67B of IT Act, envisions provision for first-time offenders as imprisonments for a term of five years and a fine of 10 lakh rupees and “subsequent offenders” get imprisonment of seven years along with fine of 10 lakh rupees.

And recently a committee headed by Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh proposed many recommendations to take action upon such issues such as including technology to curb circulation of child porn by breaking end to end encryption to trace its distribution of child pornography, making internet services providers liable for this content and to strengthen state-level implementation by appointing ‘safety commissioners’ in every state who could monitor the reporting of sexual exploitation of children on social media.

There are laws to deal with these issues but they exist with an urgent need for implementation efficiently and effectively. According to a report, it was found that over 25,000 cases of suspected child sexual abuse material have been uploaded across social media platforms in India over just the last five months. Delhi has the highest number of cases of Child Pornography.

Conclusion

There is a strong need to condemn the making of child pornographic materials so that we can provide a safe place that is free from sexual offenses to our next coming generation. To develop a holistic environment, we need to spread awareness among children and adults to not indulge anybody in such activities which pave the way to their destruction. 

The judicial system should pay more heed to the implementation of the laws that are pre-decided and work on those laws that are proposed. Any effective approach towards banning child pornography would decrease the overall rate of sexual offenses making the world a better place to live in.


Editor’s Note
The issue of child pornography and sexual abuse of children are strongly interrelated and very few countries of the world have been able to tackle this issue effectively as of now. This article highlights the interrelationship between child pornography and sexual abuse as well as its disastrous impacts.

The article also throws some light upon the prevailing global scenario in this aspect and the Indian legal framework for the same. The author has concluded by saying that there should be a strong focus by the judiciary on the proper implementation of the laws relating to child pornography and sexual abuse in order to curb these issues in an effective manner.

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