#SOS “Stop Online Stalkers” Campaign launched by Missing Link Trust, CyberPeace and PVR INOX Cinemas

  • More than 24 lakh online Child Sexual Abuse Cases recorded between 2017-2020 In India (Interpol) 
  • Indian children youngest to reach mobile maturity (McAfee study) 
  • 22% of Indian children experienced cyberbullying at some time which is notably 5% higher than the global average of 17% (McAfee study) 
  • The Indian sub-continent ranks the highest in CSAM consumption out of 241 countries (A global compilation of reports on child sexual abuse material) 
  • 47% of sextortion victims experienced threats daily, and 1 in 4 victims were less than 13 years old (National Network to End Child Abuse) 
  • Children can be easily groomed by perpetrators to create sexual images and videos. These are then used to threaten the children and make them do things against their will. 

Mumbai, 19 August 2023: The Missing Link Trust (MISSING) and CyberPeace (CP) in association with PVR NEST, today launched the #SOS “Stop Online Stalkers”, a nationwide CAMPAIGN at PVR INOX Cinemas to safeguard children against the danger of online child trafficking. 

The #SOS campaign straddles both online and offline initiatives with four core elements for ensuring safety: 

  1. Screening of the first of-its-kind Public Service Announcement (PSA) #SOS films in PVR INOX Cinemas to educate nearly 20 million parents, families, and children. The PSA gives everyone a clear understanding of the nature of cyberspace today. 
  2. Establishment of the SOS Child Online Safety Desk 60030 60040, an innovative chatbot that provides 24/7 information and assistance to parents and children grappling with this issue. 
  3. Direct engagement with school children and teachers in the form of interactive talk shows i.e., SOS Forums. 
  4. Leveraging the influence and voice of mom bloggers across the country to raise awareness about safety & protection of children 

Children in India are the most affected globally and have recorded the highest number of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) reports, reaching a staggering 24 lakh cases. These numbers spiked during the pandemic, further exacerbating the situation by creating a pattern of unsupervised presence of children online. This has led to a disturbing surge in online exploitation, with children encountering age-inappropriate content and potentially dangerous strangers, creating a severe psychological impact on them and their families.

The PSA sheds light on the different forms of online exploitation and the alarming rise in CSAM since the onset of the pandemic. It features a narrative that represents the real-life experiences of many young children in India, showcasing how easily they can fall prey to online traffickers even from the perceived safety of their homes. The PSA serves as an influential tool to engage the public and evoke emotional responses that can lead to positive change. 

Leena Kejriwal, Artist & Founder of The Missing Link Trust explains, At the core of the #SOS campaign lies the evocative PSA films created to heighten awareness and begin a much-needed dialogue on the issue of Online Child Abuse, in families and among the parent communities across the country. The #SOS Campaign presents an innovative solution with the SOS Online Child Desk, a chatbot that provides resources and assistance 24/7 to keep children safe online. “

Major Vineet Kumar, Founder & Global President of CyberPeace shares, We are witnessing a concerning rise in cybercrimes such as cyberbullying, cyber-enabled human trafficking, online harassment, and Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), emphasizing the critical need to develop a solid mechanism that augments safety, instils best practices like cyber ethics, digital routine, and promotes active reporting. The #SOS Stop Online Stalkers campaign will not only enhance awareness but also protect the rights of children in cyberspace. We are in dire need of extensive awareness, education, and policy initiatives to broaden the base of this critical danger to our younger generation. This campaign is merely the beginning of our journey towards a safer online environment for our children.”

PVR INOX will screen the PSAs and provide every support needed to ensure that this campaign reaches the maximum number of parents and children across India. Deepa Menon, Founder Head of PVR NEST says, PVR INOX with its cinemas present across the country caters to an audience base among all age groups. Today children below 14 years of age are increasingly joining the audience bank. This unique #SOS Stop Online Stalkers campaign will help directly connect every member of society from a 10-year old to an 80-year-old. PVR INOX Cinemas is a powerful impactful medium for raising mass awareness and public advocacy. PVR NEST will also get more advocates to join this movement through its access to communities in densely populated areas of Delhi. Through our powerful reach, we aim to bring awareness to this social evil among communities and our customer base to combat the heinous crime of online child trafficking and invite dialogue about this burning issue.” 

About Missing Link Trust 

Missing Link Trust is an award-winning organization that works towards the prevention of sex trafficking through education and empowerment. They believe that awareness equals prevention and employ innovative methods involving art and technology to combat child trafficking in India. The Missing Link Trust’s initiatives are designed to reach every possible corner of society. Their engagement with schools to educate parents and have developed city-level outreach programs that include media, art engagement, games, podcasts, murals, an AR app, and more. The Missing Girl silhouette embodies their work and has become a recognizable symbol for the fight against girl trafficking. 

For further information, please visit, https://www.savemissinggirls.com/ 

  About CyberPeace (CP) 

CyberPeace Foundation is the world’s first non-profit civil society organization and think tank of cyber and policy experts with the vision of pioneering CyberPeace initiatives to build collective resilience against cybercrimes & global threats of cyber warfare. As a pioneer in CyberPeace advocacy, CP is on a mission to promote “Technology for Good” beyond borders. CyberPeace is involved in policy advocacy, research and training related to all aspects of cyber peace and cyber security. Key areas of CyberPeace work are in technology governance, policy review and advocacy, capacity and capability creation and building through partnerships with various government organizations, academic institutions, and civil society entities. 

For further information, please visit, https://www.cyberpeace.org/

About PVR 

PVR INOX Limited is the largest film exhibition company in India with 1708 screens across 361 properties in 115 cities (India and Sri Lanka). Since their inception, both PVR and INOX have created iconic cinema brands with storied histories of achieving significant milestones and setting benchmarks in the film exhibition industry. 

PVR NEST is the CSR arm of PVR INOX Limited, the largest and the most premium cinema exhibitor in India. In alignment with United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG-11), PVR NEST works under Public-Private Partnership Models (PPP) towards transforming urban spaces and facilities to make cities more sustainable focused on women, children, and marginalized sections of society. In its endeavour to build an equitable society, PVR NEST places great emphasis in the areas of education, poverty alleviation, sanitation and safety, gender equality and environment.

For further information contact: https://www.pvrcinemas.com/ 

Aashi Chaturvedi: +91 9871210640, +91 885 140 9666, [email protected]