Sextortion cases jump by 62 per cent, teen boys biggest target

WINNIPEG –

A disturbing new report shows cases of sextortion have increased by 62 per cent over the last six months, with teen boys being the biggest target.

The report was authored by Cybertip.ca, Canada’s national child sexual abuse and exploitation tipline run by The Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

“So sextortion is essentially blackmail related to the distribution and recording of sexual abuse and exploitation material,” said Stephen Sauer, Cybertip.ca’s director.

“A teen may be engaged in an online conversation with an individual. They may be coerced into undressing or a sexual act that is then recorded, and then the individual comes back to them and threatens to share that recording with family and friends if they don’t pay a certain amount of money.”

Cybertip.ca’s report found that males aged 15-17 are most at risk for sextortion.

“They are online exploring their sexuality. They are connecting with individuals they don’t know and they are really looking for an outlet for social interaction,” said Sauer.

“I think the individuals who are exploiting these youth really understand how youth are vulnerable in this space and understand that often they will quickly comply once they are threatened because they don’t want anybody to find out that this happened to them.”

Sauer believes more needs to be done to protect youth online.

“We see with online platforms like Snapchat and Instagram being the initial way to contact youth. There has to be regulation put in place to ensure that individuals don’t have that access to youth and children on these types of platforms because it really is a gateway to exploitation.”

Victims of sexploitation should report it immediately, Sauer said.

“The first thing parents should do is report to Cybertip.ca or your local law enforcement when your child is a victim of sextortion.”

Sauer said victims should never comply with the demands of the person trying to blackmail them.

“One of the things we want parents to ensure their youth isn’t complying with the demands. If they believe the youth has complied with the demands, make sure to stop the money and ensure that money doesn’t go through if possible.”

“Save all the chats as a result of this and then connect with us. If they think the material has been shared, then we can certainly help with that.”

More information can be found at Cybertip.ca.

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