ISLAMABAD  -  Director General Cyber Crimes Wing, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Capt (retd) Muhammad Shoaib on Wednesday said that the FIA in collaboration with the police had launched a country-wide action against criminal groups using social media networks and involved in child abuse cases. Talking to private news channel, the DG FIA said that criminals involved in immoral acts with children mostly belonging to international criminal networks will be arrested soon.

He highlighted that since the inactment of ‘Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016’, the major chunk of cases reported to FIA are from Interpol or foreign Consulates and Embassies.

Muhammad Shoaib further stated that investigations into child abuse cases were facing hurdles in 2017 due to reluctance of the victims or other social taboos from reporting such incidents in time. However, in the year 2018, we have registered more than 15 cases due to awareness among masses in country, he stated. The DG informed that he has ordered an inquiry into child abuse cases and constituted a team to arrest those involved in such crimes and circulating its videos online.  “We also established a special cell which will monitor the activity over the internet and investigate those who upload these videos online,” he revealed.

A large number of reports of child abuse cases surfacing from Punjab, Karachi and other regions certainly demand more coordinated and comprehensive investigation than what appears to be conducted by law enforcers. “Our investigation on abuse cases in Okara was still underway when reports of young girls being trafficked for prostitution broke out”, he said. He said that the suspect was arrested after being traced through his PTCL number and his IP address, adding, that the accused, who had joined the social media group was arrested.  Visual depictions include photographs, videos, digital or computer generated images and videos that involve the documentation of an actual crime scene are then circulated for personal consumption, he told.

Capt (Retd) Muhammad Shoaib explained that several children were raped, subjected to sexual abuse and all of it was filmed. On one hand, the abused children and their families, mostly from low-income groups were extorted for money while these videos were being distributed and sold. It is important to mention that such incidents are known to take place across the country, however, the highest number of cases are reported in Punjab, he added.

He emphasised that child abuse is a critical issue that we need to be discussing in schools and at home to give more awareness among masses through media and social media networks. “We want to remove misconceptions on the issue, equip children how to defend themselves and teach them how to say “No”, he said. He advised to encourage the children to speak up about evil by assuring them that there is nothing immoral about the topic.

Child abuse awareness will be taught in the schools syllabus, said DG, adding, that there is no option other than to make the subject a part of the syllabus. He told children are being victimised as they don’t know what’s happening, they are not informed, they are innocent children and they can be exploited easily. It is compulsory to make child abuse awareness,” he remarked, adding, that children using social media should be aware of this “highest form of bestiality.” Muhammad Shoaib also said that FIA received a complaint from Spain regarding involvement of a Pakistani citizen in an international child pornography ring.