Porn ban a boon for pirated DVD hawkers

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Sale of pornographic DVDs increase many fold after government declared last year the ban of porn

Riddhiman Roy

The banning of 827 pornographic websites by major telecom companies on October last year proved to be “good for business” according to a pirated DVD hawker on Krishna Rajendra road, as sales of pornographic DVDs surge.

According to a survey conducted by The Softcopy of the local pirated DVD vendors of that area, since October 2018 sale of pornographic DVDs increased to an average of 10 DVDs per week, as compared to a maximum of 10 DVDs being sold in a month before the ban.

The Department of Telecommunication (DOT) ordered all Internet Service Providers to block 827 porn sites, following an order by Uttarakhand High Court on October 2018. The court argued that access to porn was responsible for enabling violent and anti-social behavior. This judgment came after an incident where four students had raped a minor in a school.

“Our main revenue is from selling pirated DVDs of expensive games, but now customers also come looking for porn DVDs,” says Saleem, a young-adult who earns his livelihood through selling pirated DVDs and is the only earning member of his family. “Not a lot of people know how to use aVirtural Private Network( VPN) or download torrents, so they come to us,”, adds Saleem, who is a technologically literate person and loves playing online video games.

“Nowadays everybody has high-speed internet and they can download every material we are selling”, complained one of the hawkers. India had an approximate 18 percent growth in number of internet users after the prices for internet handling were brought down by major telecom companies, according to the ICUBE 2018 report. Consequentially people started watching porn for free over the internet, instead of purchasing it. This led to a sharp decline in the demand of such DVDs. But after the porn ban by DOT a a lot of people shifted back to buying DVDs and the sale of these hawkers took a hike, according to Saleem and his compatriots.

According to Shashidhara S.D police Inspector at Basavanagudi Police Station, small time pirated DVD hawkers are all being shutdown one by one. “There was a major crackdown on pirated DVD hawkers near National Market area. Very soon the hawkers in this area will also be put out of porn DVD business.” The police station had no idea that pornographic material was also being sold in these stalls.

According to a study by American College of Pediatricians, consumption of pornography is associated with many negative emotional, psychological, and physical health outcomes.  These include increased rates of depression, anxiety, acting out and violent behavior, younger age of sexual debut, sexual promiscuity, increased risk of teen pregnancy, and a distorted view of relationships between men and women. The availability and use of pornography has become almost ubiquitous among adults and adolescents.

“It causes men to devalue the opposite gender because they compare them with the women they see on screen. It encourages men to seek out dangerous or socially unacceptable sexual acts”, says David Ludden Ph.D in a report in psychologytoday.com

Police said the crackdown on pirated DVD hawkers would be dealt with a more urgent approach in the recent future due to the selling of pornographic materials in these stalls along with illegally pirated movies and games.

Note: The survey was done verbatim. In 2018, the sales of pornographic DVD was as low as 5-10DVDs per month. But in recent times, that is, post February the sales have gone up and currently they are selling 8-12DVDs per week.

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