Rape Protests in Delhi
Protesters in Delhi call for the death sentence for rapists as attacks against women continue unabated Reuters

While India reels from yet another horrific gang rape of a mother and daughter in Uttar Pradesh (UP) this week, it has been reported that mobile phone clips of gang rapes are being sold in shops in the northern Indian state.

The graphic clips of assaults against women and children, which last between 30 seconds and five minutes, are being sold via social media in the "hundreds, perhaps thousands, every day" for RS50 to RS150 (£0.57-£1.71, $0.75-$2) each, the Times of India reported.

It is thought that the perpetrators are recording the attacks on mobile phones in order to blackmail their victims, threatening them with circulating the footage on the internet if they go to the police.

Ajay Sharma, a deputy inspector general of police in the city of Agra, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the videos are being sold on the black market. "We are aware. We are taking necessary action," he said. "But it is difficult, as the sales are happening below the counter."

On Thursday (4 August) Agra police conducted raids at several locations where nine men were arrested for allegedly downloading and then selling the explicit videos.

In May, an incident was reported in Moradabad after a young girl was raped by five men at a village. The attack was filmed and sent to her father and relatives after she threatened to go to the police. The video was circulated on social media prompting a public outcry in the community.

In another incident in UP this week, another woman was reportedly gang-raped while her attackers recorded the assault on a mobile phone.

UP has been ranked among the most unsafe states in India for women after a spate of brutal attacks, prompting calls for Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to step down. In 2014, there were 337,922 reports of violence against women including rape, molestation and abduction – a 9% increase on the previous year, according to official data reported by Channel News Asia.

In response to the escalating violence, the hashtag #LawlessUP has been trending on Twitter this week.

Following the fatal gang-rape of a woman on a Delhi bus in December 2012, there have been mass protests in India calling for a crackdown on violence against women and harsher sentences for perpetrators, including the death penalty.