Trigger Warning: This post contains information on physical violence and sexual violence which some readers may find disturbing.
Facebook has added new features to control harassment and exploitation of children on its platform, focusing on posts involving child nudity, sexual exploitation, inappropriate interactions with children and non-sexual child abuse. Facebook will send a safety alert informing users who share exploitative content about the harm it can cause and warn them about Facebook’s policies.
In this context, let us look at the legal framework to punish and report harassment and exploitation of children.
What is child pornography?
The law can punish any person who uses children in any form of media (advertisements, internet, printed form etc.) for sexual gratification. Sexual gratification includes:
- Representing a child’s sexual organs
- Using children engaged in real or simulated sexual acts
- Indecent or obscene representation of children.
It is a crime to involve a child in recording, preparing, offering, publishing, or distributing pornographic material.
What are the punishments for child pornography?
|Using a child for pornographic purposes
||First offence – Jail time of at least five years and a fine
Subsequent offences – Jail time of at least seven years and a fine
|Storing or having child pornographic material for displaying or distributing it
|Jail time of up to three years and/or a fine
|Storing or having child pornographic material for commercial purposes
||First offence – Jail time of three to five years and/or a fine
Subsequent offences – Jail time of five to seven years and a fine
Do you have a duty to report child pornography?
Yes, if you know about a crime where a child is being used for pornography or you fear that someone might commit such an crime, you need to provide information about this to the:
- Local police.
- Special Juvenile Police Unit in your district.
You can also contact:
- Childline India Helpline Number 1098
- National Commission for Protection of Child Rights
- Email: email@example.com
The punishment for not reporting the offence is jail time of up to six months and/or a fine.
To know more about protecting children from sexual abuse, read our explainer.