Sextortion is a form of online harassment and abuse that involves threatening to share sexually explicit images or videos of a person in order to extort money or other forms of compensation. The victims of sextortion are often coerced into sending explicit material of themselves to the perpetrator, who then uses it as leverage to demand payment or other favors.
According to the FBI, cases involving children and teens being threatened and coerced into sending explicit images online are on the rise. Often the crime begin with children and teens talking to someone on a site, app, MMO (Massive Multi-Player Online) gaming platforms, or other message/chat platforms with someone whom they believe is their own age. However it should be noted that these crimes are also perpetrated by their peers as part of an larger ongoing cyberbullying campaign. A highly recommended article on this rising victim group can be found on the FBI website by following this link:
Another common form of sextortion is "online romance scams," in which a perpetrator poses as a romantic partner and coaxes the victim into sending sexually explicit material. Once the perpetrator has the material, they will threaten to share it with the victim's friends and family if they do not comply with their demands.
Sextortion can have serious consequences for the victim, including emotional distress, loss of reputation, and financial ruin. It can also lead to the victim feeling guilty or ashamed, which can make it difficult for them to seek help.
It's important for people to be aware of the risks of sextortion and take steps to protect themselves. This includes being cautious about sharing personal information and explicit material online, and not engaging in online relationships with people they have never met in person. If you or someone you know is a victim of sextortion, it's important to contact law enforcement immediately and seek support from a counselor or therapist.
In addition, there are several organizations that provide support and resources to victims of sextortion. For example, the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI) is a non-profit organization that provides support and resources to victims of nonconsensual pornography. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) also operates a CyberTipline that can be used to report child pornography and other forms of child exploitation.
Sextortion is a serious crime that can have devastating consequences for the victim. It's important for everyone to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect themselves, and for victims to seek help and support as soon as possible.