More than a dozen colleges and universities have been forced to suspend or close their campuses after it was revealed that some students were being encouraged to engage in online sexual activity in order to gain access to pornography and sex toys.
The move came as a result of a complaint made to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), which in turn reported the problem to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
The NCMEC, which was established in 2000, is a nonprofit organisation that investigates sex crimes and child pornography.
“There was a general sense that sexual activity was an important part of sexual activity,” said Alison Hockings, executive director of the NCMec.
“It was just something that students were doing and they were doing it with other people.”
The NCLES was contacted by students at eight of the universities, and a spokesperson said that the organisations investigations were ongoing.
“The NCMES will investigate any allegation of a violation of this policy,” the spokesperson told Al Jazeera.
The NCLMEC spokesperson told the BBC that the group had investigated allegations that students had been engaging in “online voyeurism” for the purpose of gaining access to sexual content.
“This was a real concern for us,” the NCLMec spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said there had been “several allegations of voyeuristic activity” at the institutions. “
If there is a case of it, we will work with the university to determine what the appropriate course of action is.”
The spokesperson said there had been “several allegations of voyeuristic activity” at the institutions.
The incidents included an “unusual number of cases of voyeurs taking advantage of the internet for sexual gratification”, which was “quite alarming”, the spokesperson said, adding that the school had taken action to investigate.
One of the schools investigated was the University College London (UCL), which said in a statement to Al Jazeera that it had received reports of voyelistic activity on several campuses.
“UCL’s policy on the use of the Internet for non-student activities is set out in our policies on the sharing of student information, including on our website,” the university said in the statement.
“Any violation of the policy could have a material and substantial impact on UCL’s ability to recruit and retain the best and brightest students and staff.”
UCL said it had also contacted the police, who had launched an investigation.
The UK’s Chief Constable, Nick Herbert, told the UK news website ITV News that it was a matter for the police. “
However, the NCA has no specific role to play in investigations of these matters and will only intervene if there is evidence of serious criminality.”
The UK’s Chief Constable, Nick Herbert, told the UK news website ITV News that it was a matter for the police.
“At this stage there are no specific complaints against students or staff, but we have a range of investigative powers at our disposal to investigate these matters,” he said.
A spokesman for the UCL Education Trust told the Al Jazeera news agency that it would cooperate with any investigation, including those from the NCLC.
“In line with our existing procedures, we have had no complaints regarding any students, staff or anyone else at the university,” the spokesman said.
The spokesperson added that the trust had a “zero tolerance” approach to the use and distribution of pornographic images.
“Our focus is on the wellbeing of our students and we are working to improve the education and wellbeing of students in the UK,” the statement said.
UK law states that if anyone is found to be distributing or downloading any material which is not protected by the Digital Economy Act 2000, they can be fined up to £5,000.
“These offences are often carried out by students in clubs or student organisations, as well as online, and it is unlikely that the material is of a commercial nature,” a spokesperson for HM Courts and Tribunals Service told Al JAZEERAS.
“But they can also be used by others to get around our anti-social behaviour laws.”
The spokesman added that HM Courts has the power to investigate any suspected breaches of the law and that they could take the case to the courts.
The National Centre for Missing & Exploished Children (NCMEC) said it was aware of the issues raised by universities and schools but had no specific comment at the time.
“When a report is made to us, we review it and work with our universities and their partners to address the issues, if any,” the NCMEC spokesperson said in an email to Al Jazers.
“As this is a sensitive matter for all of our partners, we are unable to discuss specific incidents or specific cases.”
The NCMEO said it is working with the schools to establish the extent of the problem, which it said could take