A coned man who was once a child actor in some not known TV serials was running an international child sex racket from Mumbai. He has been booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation under the charges of the POCSO and IT Act.
According to the police, this 30-year-old accused who has introduced himself as an actor and casting director been contacted thousands of minors between 10-16 years of age across the United States, Europe, and South Asian countries through Instagram and enticed them towards child pornography. He used to get hold of victims’ cell phone numbers (WhatsApp numbers) and recorded or asked them to share objectionable material.
The accused then sold the content to his customers abroad through encrypted social media applications. CBI special unit conducted raids and searches in Mumbai and seized his mobile phones and laptop. A list of his customers both in India and abroad has been prepared. The accused, a native of Haridwar, had acted as junior artists in some television serials. Some model coordinators too helped him with child artist’s numbers.
Himanshu Jhunjhunwala, a model coordinator, and PR agency owner told Afternoon Voice, “There are many such conmen in this industry who take advantage of struggling actors and child artists. There are thousands of model coordinators across Mumbai and they are flooded with photos/ profiles for some break”. Many child artists grow teens while in search of work, sometimes they are so desperate that they land up working in C grade films or doing photo shoots for undergarments”. While shooting parents don’t realize about the stock footage, they just look at final prints they receive, child exploitation can stop only if these children are under the strict vigil of parents.”
Police have found, sex chats, nude videos, and objectionable content from his mobile phone sent by the victims and their known people. In return they used to receive some perks; he also had a Facebook account that was recently deactivated by cops. The accused has his personal photo studio in Andheri MHADA Colony slum.
Cyber Expert Shubham Singh said, “During the lockdown, the cybercrime cases were on rising, mainly the cyberbullying. When someone notices such circulation of pornographic material involving young children circulated on the internet in any sort shall be reported to Cyber Cell / the Special Juvenile Police Unit and Child Welfare Officer.” One should teach their children to save evidence of an abuse (harassing messages, sexually explicit pictures, or threatening texts) and not respond to them”, Singh added.
Ministry of Home Affairs has approved a scheme namely ‘Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC)’ under which an online Cyber Crime reporting portal, (www.cybercrime.gov.in) has been launched to enable the public to report complaints pertaining to Child Pornography/ Child Sexual Abuse Material, rape/gang rape imageries or sexually explicit content. This portal facilitates the public to lodge complaints anonymously or through Report and track options, said the Cyber Expert.