Press Release

ICMEC Announces the Formation of Specialized Police Units to Combat Online Child Sexual Exploitation in India

Alexandria, VA, USA (July 27, 2022) — The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC)
announced today a new project to combat online child sexual exploitation in India, in partnership with NGOs and local police forces.

In 2021, India reached 4.7 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation online, constituting an increase of 136% over 2019*. The goal of this new initiative is to protect the children of India by equipping local law enforcement with the training and technology to effectively address the rising tide of online abuse. Specialized police units dedicated to the investigation of Online Child Sexual Exploitation (OCSE) will be newly formed or strengthened in four Indian states and one city in India.

ICMEC’s 48-month project will provide these police units with the necessary specialized hardware, software, training, and technical assistance to effectively investigate online sexual crimes against children and support victims of sexual exploitation. In order to ensure that cases of OCSE can be brought to trial and successfully reach conviction and sentencing, ICMEC will also train prosecutors and judges in these five locations.

ICMEC’s training is based on a victim-centric approach, including interview techniques to prevent revictimization. ICMEC will also assist each dedicated police unit in equipping special child-friendly interview rooms.

“In order to safeguard children in India, ICMEC’s goal with this project is to establish, equip, and train specialized police units who can carry out effective investigations and defend children from exploitation and abuse,” says Bob Cunningham, CEO of ICMEC. “We are incredibly proud to work alongside our partners in the removal of Child Sexual Abuse Materials from the internet and dark web, preventing revictimization through appropriate interviewing of child victims, and bringing cases through the criminal justice system to conviction.”

The project is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and is implemented in partnership with the Police Units of each Indian State or City and CyberPeace Foundation.

“In order to keep our children safe online, CyberPeace Foundation is looking forward to working with ICMEC to making cyberspace more peaceful and safer while preventing cyber related crimes such as CSAM, commercial sexual exploitation, or cyber trafficking.”

*National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 2021 CyberTipline Reports by Country. Available at: https://www.missingkids.org/content/dam/missingkids/pdfs/2021-reports-by-country.pdf

About the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC):
The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization working to make the world a safer place for all children by defending against child sexual exploitation, abuse, and the risk of going missing. Headquartered in the United States, ICMEC works with partners around the world to develop research, technologies, and educational resources to aid in the search and recovery of children who are missing, fight online exploitation online, and empower professionals, institutions, and communities to safeguard children from all forms of sexual abuse. For more information go to www.icmec.org.

Media contact:
Jeff Swingle
ICMEC Senior Vice President of Strategic Advancement
jswingle@icmec.org