The figure is credited to findings of the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, an NGO set up by the US Congress in 1984, and has sent alarm bells ringing in India.
In response, the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) and an anti-trafficking NGO are hosting a conference in Kolkata from Friday on ‘Sexual Exploitation of Children in a Digital Era’.
While the Interpol is too tied up to send a team, the Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI will send a team to the conference as well as social media giants Facebook. Prominent Kolkata schools as well as some from the suburbs will also participate in the conference. Police officers, judges and prosecutors from 15 countries will be present and share their experiences.
“Online child sexual abuse is a global problem and also prevalent on a large scale in India. Through the two day international convention, we will try to exchange and share ideas about how to combat this problem,” said Ananya Chakraborti, chairperson, WBCPCR.
“Cyber laws in India are solely for data protection, but there are not enough laws to counter these online cybercrimes,” she added.
“The National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children has said 2,446,884 cases of online sexual abuse of Indian children was reported last year and more than 80 per cent of the victims are girls,” said Saji Philip of International Justice Mission, Kolkata, partnering the conference.
“Online sexual abuse is increasing, it has no borders. The idea of the conference is to create awareness and bring in international solutions to combat the exploitation of children,” he said. .
In the run up to the conference, WBCPCR called for one-minute videos from students between ages 14 and 16 on child sex abuse and trafficking to create awareness among school children. The winners will be announced at the conference.