Sargodha child porn case

Globally this is a vast multi-million dollar industry, and it is virtually out of control


Editorial April 14, 2017

A man has been arrested in Sargodha and confessed to running an internet pornography business that used children as subjects. The business had been running for several years and was uncovered as a result of a tip-off from the Norwegian Embassy, and in that sense a welcome development in terms of international policing. As many as 25 children were abused, their images and video clips sold on the internet, and the accused man himself admitted to being paid between $100 and $400 by his Norwegian partner in crime to make video clips. The children were lured into his office under the pretext of imparting computer training and skills to them, and he reportedly paid Rs3,000 to Rs5,000 to their parents — which begs the question as to why the parents did not themselves question this highly unusual arrangement.

There have been other child pornography ‘scandals’ in the past but nothing quite like this in terms of breadth, international reach and profitability. It would appear that the FIA has solid evidence corroborated by a confessional statement as well as evidence from Norwegian investigators. Whether there will be a successful prosecution remains to be seen, equally remaining to be seen is whether the accused had accomplices in Pakistan.

Although the police are saying this is a ‘first’, it will not be the only instance of child pornography production, and there is copious anecdotal evidence stretching back at least to the turn of the century that child pornography was being widely produced and marketed nationally and internationally. Globally this is a vast multi-million dollar industry, and it is virtually out of control. Arrests are regularly made, and there are efforts to shut down the networks on which images and clips are traded. Pakistan has a part to play in limiting this vile trade, and we hope that the relevant agencies are adequately funded — and as importantly that we listen when children say that they have been abused.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2017.

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COMMENTS (2)

Bakht Birhmani | 4 years ago | Reply The case has been booked by FIA under various sections of Prevention of Electronic Crime Act. Though, the said case of child exploitation is not first of its kind in Pakistan. This may be treated as series of organized crime against children after shameful Kasur child sexual abuse scandal. This can be considered as dangerous expression of organized crimes taking place against children in our country. Pakistan is country of young people. The research shows that 47% of population belongs to children, under 18 years. They are future of this country. But, unfortunately, state institutions in particular, and society in general, is not offering adequate care and protection to children. The Kasur child sexual abuse scandal should have been proved a tipping point for our society; but it not appeared so. Protection of children is not mere responsibility of state. Every individual of society has to share this responsibility. Citizens need to be more vigilant towards monitoring of children rights. Parents should behave politely to the children and need to build their confidence so they must not hesitate in sharing of routine affairs. Schools need to promote child friendly environment. Law makers should formulate appropriate legislation to deal with child abuse cases. The recent bill seeking enhanced punishment for child sexual abuse has been rejected plainly by the National Assembly Sub-committee on interior. It should ideally have been reviewed and adopted with necessary amendments. For how long our state institutions would be using proxy laws to nail pedophiles and such breed of abusers of children rights. State institutions and citizen must join hands to protect children rights for achieving peace in this country.
Toti calling | 4 years ago | Reply This is good news that the culprit has been caught. But this trade is common in many western countries and not a unique Pakistani problem. Those responsible must be punished and parents advised to be extra careful.
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