What is Sextortion?
Years ago, cell phones were seen as just a means of communication, however, with the rise of Sextortion, predators are using cellular and other technological devices to target others for sexual exploitation. With, sextortion being a recent term among law enforcement and advocates, what exactly is sextortion?
Sextortion is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “The practice of extorting money or sexual favors from someone by threatening to reveal evidence of their sexual activity.”
The FBI has claimed they have seen a dramatic increase in sextortion cases involving children and teens online recently. Though this blog and many resources do focus on sextortion among children, as those cases are currently rising at alarming rates; sextortion does happen to adults as well. Additionally, the department of Homeland Security Investigations received over 3,000 tips regarding sextortion in 2022 alone. Typically, a predator claims to have or pressures a victim into sending sexually explicit images or videos. Through fear, shame, embarrassment, and coercion victims often give in to their predators demands. Predators often prey on these emotions to extort money or other finances, additional sexual abuse material, and in extreme cases the victims are lured into sex trafficking. The Department of Homeland Security lists the following as common tactics used by predators to begin sextortion schemes:
- Developing a false rapport with the victim/victims.
- Secretly recording explicit videos and messages during chats.
- Using multiple identities to contact a child.
- Pretending to be younger or member of the opposite sex.
- Hacking accounts to steal sexual images.
- Threatening to commit suicide if a victim refuses to send images.
- Using social media sites to learn further information about a victim.
If you, or a child you may know is a potential victim of sextortion (up to the age of 21), you can report the victimization to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at https://report.cybertip.org/. Additionally, you can file a report with your local police department.