Child pornography, sextortion on rise in Sri Lanka; police forms special cell to monitor cyberspace

Sri Lankan authorities have formed a dedicated new cell to probe the incidents of child pornography in the country as police revealed that over 17,000 videos and pictures related to child pornography have been uploaded from Sri Lanka in a little over a month’s time

Jul 29, 2021
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Sextortion on rise in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan authorities have formed a dedicated new cell to probe the incidents of child pornography in the country as police revealed that over 17,000 videos and pictures related to child pornography have been uploaded from Sri Lanka in a little over a month’s time. 

The National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children was established at the Children and Women Bureau in Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, last month in order to monitor pornographic video clips and photos related to children, Ajith Rohana, a senior Sri Lankan police officer, said. 

This came after authorities observed an increasing trend in child pornography and cases of sextortion in the island nation. 

Authorities have formed special teams to patrol cyberspace all the time to monitor pornography-related incidents. The government is also using modern technology to identify the person or parties that upload video clips and photos related to child pornography.

According to data shared by police, between 17 June to 28 July this year, 17,629 video clips and photographs have been uploaded to cyberspace from laptops, desktops, mobile phones, and tabs in Sri Lanka.

“A person who is found circulating child pornographic video clips and photos is a punishable offense under the Law of this country,” Rohana was quoted as saying by Daily Mirror. “We have deployed special police teams to trace those criminals who upload them.” 

Authorities also observed a growing trend of sextortion. Victims, in almost all cases, are women who share intimate pictures using social media platforms. The officer said they had recently seen that social media platforms were creating a lot of problems, urging people to remain vigilant. 

In a recent case, a man from the northern city of Jaffna, who was residing in the UK, had been demanding $8500 by threatening to release her private photographs on social media. Though the duo never met, they had been in a relationship for two years when the exchange of pictures took place. 

Police urged “women to not disrobe on social media platforms, regardless of the nature of the relationship one is in, as they can be misused by the same party one is in the relationship with, or by a third party.” 

Internet and exponential growth of social media platforms have also given space to criminal networks, posing challenges to law enforcement authorities. Earlier this year, Bangladesh busted a transnational human trafficking network that had been using social media applications like TikTok, Likee, and Instagram. 

Authorities in Bangladesh are also considering banning these platforms.