Pedophiles are using Chinese apps to groom underage girls into porn: Experts

Social video apps have been gaining favour in India recently. We’re not talking about YouTube here, but apps focusing on ultra-short clips of about 15 seconds.

A clip was seen where a young girl, not more than 12 years old is dressed in a bright pink lehenga and a royal blue velvet blouse. She is standing in the middle of a field and swaying her body, shaking her hips, her chest heaving as she dances to a popular Hariyanvi number that goes Meri jalti jawani maange paani paani. It’s a 15-second clip on a short video app called Kwai popular in India. There’s another video of the girl in the same setting and clothes dancing with a boy about the same age, thrusting their bodies at each other in another song.

In another video, a girl about 10, looks directly at the camera, smiles sheepishly and parrots this couplet like she has just memorized the lines: Chadar odh kay sona, takiya modd kay sona, meri yaad aye, toh jagah chhod kay sona. A man’s voice behind the camera prods her: “Aur, aur suna (sing more, more)”.

She shies away saying, “Aur yaad nahi (don’t remember more).” The videos — and there are at least 560 more of them — were posted on the account, ‘Gaon ki Bachchiya’ (Village Girls), which has nearly 98,000 followers. Some of the videos are of girls as young as two or three, lip-syncing and dancing in an age-inappropriate manner, or doing chores like cooking and drawing water from a well. The comments are mostly from men, complimenting the girls on their bodies or asking to see more skin.

Much of the content featuring children come from accounts that are aggregators of such content or managed by parents or relatives of the children. Children think they are completing a challenge or a contest, not understanding what they are doing.

Worryingly though, experts say the apps are being abused, and are turning into a paedophile’s heaven.

What seems to be happening here is that the girls are being exploited for borderline child pornography. Nitish Chandan, a project manager for anti-child porn non-profit Cyber Peace Foundation, agrees. “Short video apps are the new ground to groom underage girls for child pornography,” he tells the publication. He says that, in the past year, their group has found a significant uptick in cases of child sexual abuse, harassment, and blackmail, where the predator found their victim on social apps like Kwai.

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