CCSE - Counter Child Sexual Exploitation Centre

Kerala Police is observing 2019 as the "Year of Cyber Security" and continuing with its policy on Zero tolerance towards Child pornography and crimes against Children, the State Police Chief has constituted a CCSE Centre (Counter Child Sexual Exploitation Centre) a wing of Kerala Police, Cyber dome, with special emphasis on preventing online crimes against Children. In the rapidly growing and changing Digital world, the investigation of Cyber Crimes against Children and ensuring cyber security for children is one of the most challenging area for the Law Enforcement Agencies

The Kerala police have a special unit CCSE (Counter Child Sexual Exploitation) which is dealing with preventing online child exploitation and child pornography. The unit is working in close contact with the Interpol Crimes against Children and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC). Kerala Police is using Interpol software to identify the culprits. This software helps to find the correct IP address even while using an encrypted medium. Over the last two years, police were getting inputs from Interpol about the rampant child pornography in Kerala. They identified after they found Malayalam calendars and newspapers lying in the background of pictures and video.

CCSE Centre is a special centre for combating against child abuse, conceived as a centre of excellence in tracing paedophiles, as well as technology augmentation for effective policing. Cyber Intelligence, Cyber Security, Incidence Response, Cyber Safety, Darknet/VPN monitoring etc are some of the major functions of CCSE Centre. Also we are conducting cyber awareness class/programmes to Student Police Cadets, National Service Scheme Volunteers, College Student, Residence Association and other Government firms.

Purpose & priorities of the initiative

Child pornography is pornography that exploits children for sexual stimulation. It may be produced with the direct involvement or sexual assault of a child also known as child sexual abuse images or it may be simulated child pornography. Abuse of the child occurs during the sexual acts or lascivious exhibitions of genitals or pubic areas which are recorded in the production of child pornography. Child pornography uses a variety of media, including social media like Telegram, FaceBook, Whatsapp etc, writings, magazines, photos, sculpture, drawing, cartoon, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, and video games.

The expansion of the Internet and advanced digital technology lies parallel to the explosion of the child pornography market. Child pornography images are readily available through virtually every Internet technology, including social networking websites, file-sharing sites, photo-sharing sites, gaming devices, and even mobile apps. Child pornography offenders can also connect on Internet forums and networks to share their interests, desires, and experiences abusing children, in addition to selling, sharing, and trading images.

The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has teamed up with a unit of the Kerala Police to counter global online child sexual exploitation and will train the state police in capacity building. Guillermo Galarza, programme director at International Center for Missing and Exploited Children and John Rouse, senior detective, Queensland Police, were on a day's visit to the Kerala Police Cyberdome in Thiruvananthapuram and conducted the training session, following which the Kerala Police set up a special unit to counter online child abuse. The Interpol team will hold further training sessions with the aim to build capacity, equip the state unit with resources and technology to deal with cases of online sexual exploitation.

Strategies adopted/mode of transformation with details of role of various stakeholders

The ICMEC (International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children) had conducted a training program in Kerala Police on CCSE (Counter Child Sexual Exploitation. Officers within the department are being trained on various intelligence gathering tools and techniques in co-operation with National and international Agencies like ICMEC, Interpol and CBI. Special Training for surveillance over the darkweb is also rendered to the officers to make them more equipped in compacting the crime. With the help of software provided by the Interpol the CCSE Centre has traced the IP addresses of those uploading, viewing and downloading child pornography

Online portal for reporting such incidents of promoting online Child Pornography is also made available. MHA has provided an online cybercrime portal " www.cybercrime.gov.in " to report cybercrime against women & children for immediate necessary action. MHA provides online Reports via National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to CCSE Centre for analysing Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM).Online Reports are (CSAM) materials posted to various social media platforms by paedophiles.

As part of gathering intelligence from cyber space, Kerala Police CCSE Centre regularly conducts patrolling various social media platforms, VPNs as well as in the darknet. Based on this, it is found that child pornography (CP) has increased manifold due to easy availability of various applications and portals which provide anonymity. Considering the seriousness and gravity of the issue, Cyberdome CCSE Centre initiated a covert operations named P-HUNT to curb the crime which poses a serious threat to the society and to bring the culprits to book.

As per our analysis, Child pornography is being circulated over the internet mainly through the Darknet, Social media platforms, VPNs, file sharing/cloud applications like Mega, DropBox, Omegle Chat, CHATZY etc. Using social engineering techniques, leads were gathered from telegram groups/channels, whatsapp groups/channels and from International databases. Using various techniques, we were able to precisely corner down to the suspect and could even trace out the devices they were using.

The Team works in close contact with the &ldquoINTERPOL- Crimes against Children Unit and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC). Besides the WhatsApp Groups are closely monitoring and tracking the suspects who viewing, sharing and distributing child porn.

A series of operations were conducted in all 14 district by the CCSE team frequently and so far in around 210 searches conducted, 38 cases have been registered and 42 persons arrested with evidences.

Outcomes i.e. impact/benefits resulting from the project

Understanding that child pornographic videos and images are being largely circulated among the people through social media, the CCSE Unit has conducted an operation titled &ldquoOperation P- HUNT&rdquo. Digital access and resources were provided by INTERPOL and ICMEC in this regard and the suspects from the WhatsApp Groups which deals with child porn. In the enquiries conducted it is known that a host of child pornographic groups were operating in social media applications such as Facebook, WhatsApp and particularly Telegram, since it had strong encryption and offers greater anonymity. Also many persons from the State were also operating on the internet, viewing and distributing such material. As part of this operation, we were able to identify many such groups and also 126 individuals were identified, who were engaged in the large-scale distribution of child porn. Membership of the group has come down from 02 lakhs to five thousand since the operation P-hunt. Most of them have left those groups after they learned that the groups were being monitored by the Police.

People from many countries get together in these groups, particularly in Telegram because it has increased encryption. CCSE team use special software and social engineering techniques to identify the members.

Mostly children aged six or above become the victims of perverts. Paedophiles exploit the children's innocence. They are not very bothered about their victims age or sex. Still girls are more at risk in Kerala. Yet we have a high number of boys being targeted. Investigation is difficult in such case even if we come across such cases.

The police cannot publicize the images of the victims or share them as part of investigation. We cannot collect evidence by showing these images or investigate the identity of the victims. We find it tough to find out how the photos and videos of children ended up in porn websites. Most of these pictures might have been taken without the child's permission. Sometimes the images involve exploitation.

The Scenario was that the child Pornography has established deep rooted network in Kerala and in the beginning Police were clueless about the dark underbelly we were stepping into. CCSE Cyberdome intervention with the P-HUNT project had changed the scenario and had created a sense of fear that they will be identified and nabbed if they do such illegal activities, even if it&rsquos through such anonymous platforms. After the success of the project, severe drop in the number of Channels/groups transmitting Child Sexual Abuse Material was visible.

Kerala Police is making all its effort in curbing the menace and is marching ahead in its policy of Zero tolerance towards Child Pornography. International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children had given a prize in recognition of the superlative efforts of Kerala Police in tackling online Child Pornography.

CCSE Centre,
Peroorkada,(Nr SAP Bn)
Thiruvananthapuram, 695015

Phone : 0471 2314440
Email: adgphq.pol@kerala.gov.in

Last updated on Monday 23rd of November 2020 AM