Interpol’s ICSE Initiative

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    • India’s Central Bureau of Investigation has joined the Interpol’s International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) initiative .

    About International Child Sexual Exploitation database

    • The ICSE database uses video and image comparison to analyse Child Sex Exploitation Material (CSEM) and make connections between victims, abusers and places. 
    • The database avoids duplication of effort and saves precious time by letting investigators know whether a series of images has already been discovered or identified in another country, or whether it has similar features to other images.
    • The image and video database is an intelligence and investigative tool, which allows specialized investigators to share data on cases of child sexual abuse.
    • It helps victim identification specialists worldwide analyse and compare child sexual abuse images.
    • INTERPOL’s Child Sexual Exploitation database holds more than 2.7 million images and videos and has helped identify 23,564 victims worldwide.

    Significance for India 

    • India reported over 24 lakh instances of online child sexual abuse from 2017 to 2020, with 80% victims being girls below the age of 14 years.
    •  More than 60% unidentified victims were prepubescent, including infants and toddlers. 
      • Around 65% of unidentified victims were girls, but severe abuse images were more likely to have boys.
    • It will allow India to collaborate with investigators in other countries for detecting child sex abuse online and identifying abusers, victims, and crime scenes from audio-visual clips using specialised software.
      • India is the 68th country to have access to this database and software.

    India’s Efforts to  combat online child sex abuse

    • In 2019, the CBI set up a special unit called the ‘Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention/Investigation (OCSAE)’, for tracking and monitoring posting, circulation and downloads of CSEM online.
      • Based on intelligence developed by the unit, the CBI started a country-wide operation against the alleged peddlers of online CSEM in India last year. 
    • Back in 2020, the cyber wing of the Maharashtra Police had acquired a software from Interpol to track child sex abuse captured on video and in photos.
    • In 2019, the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, a US-based non-profit organisation, had started sharing tip-offs about child sex abuse with Indian agencies. 

    Interpol

    • Its full name is International Criminal Police Organisation.
    • It is the world’s largest international police organisation with 195 member countries, and is headquartered in Lyon, France. 
    • Each member country hosts an Interpol National Central Bureau that connects their national law enforcement to it and in India, the CBI is that nodal agency.

    Source:IE